New Zealand red meat sector leaders head to Brussels this week as negotiations between the European Union (EU) and New Zealand for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) enter a critical stage.
Although this represented a 14% drop compared with January 2020, there was exceptionally strong demand for beef in China a year ago ahead of the Covid-19 lockdown and African Swine Fever was decimating Chinese pig herds, resulting in a surge in demand for other protein.
“Red meat exports hit record levels of $9.2 billion during 2020,” says MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva.
“The January 2021 results compare favourably with January 2019 under more normal market conditions. Compared with that period, exports were 6% higher. Our industry continues to provide a strong result for the New Zealand economy and for farmers, despite the ongoing global challenges.”
Overall, January saw a drop in export value to most major markets but values to Korea increased by 4% to $18.6 million and by 72% to Indonesia, to $15.1 million.
Volumes of sheepmeat exported dropped by 8% year on year. This was partly due to farmers holding on to lambs longer good rain over the Christmas period. However, the value of sheepmeat exported to China increased by 10% to $173 million.
The volume of beef exports remained similar to January 2020, down by 2%, but 35% higher than January 2019.
Co-products rose by 16%, to $128.7 million. The increase in co-product exports was largely driven by a major growth in tallow exports, up 600% to $21.8 million. China was the major tallow importer with $14.1 million, followed by Singapore with $6.7 million.