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Lower Supplies See NZ Exports Decline

18 July 2014
Meat & Livestock Australia

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand (NZ) lamb exports totalled 302,056 tonnes swt for the 2013-14 fiscal year, back 16 per cent year-on-year, with an overall decline in shipments to all of NZ’s major export markets according to figures from Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Now that the NZ production season is winding down into winter, exporters are reportedly focusing on the more lucrative chilled market due to the lower supplies available.

Meat and Livestock Australia said that during 2013-14, shipments to the EU, NZ’s largest export destination, were back 17 per cent on the previous fiscal year, at 120,029 tonnes.

During June, there were reports of NZ exporters having more competition with UK production, as the new season lamb production in the UK begins to ramp up.

Through July, demand from the UK and other major northern hemisphere markets is expected to ease as they move into summer – traditionally a time of lower lamb consumption in those regions.

Lamb exports to China declined five per cent year-on-year in 2013-14, to 89,791 tonnes, with reports suggesting that high levels of sheep meat stocks in China have softened demand for the short term, although this is expected to pick back up during the remainder of the year.

Despite demand from the Middle East being reportedly solid throughout the 2013-14 season, NZ lamb shipments to the region were 32 per cent lower during the fiscal year, totalling 26,018 tonnes – most likely attributed to the reduced NZ lamb crop.

NZ beef exports totalled 373,570 tonnes during 2013-14, back 6 per cent on the previous fiscal year. Shipments to the US eased 2 per cent, at 183,455 tonnes swt, even though demand has reportedly been very strong.

According to NZX Agrifax, demand for beef well outstripped supply in the lead up to Independence Day, with US importers falling short of supplies, driving up the US manufacturing beef market.

However, NZ beef production has been declining as winter progresses and some processing plants close for maintenance, leaving NZ exporters unable to take full advantage of the higher returns.

Beef shipments to China in 2013-14 lifted marginally (one per cent) year-on-year, to 35,056 tonnes, while volumes to Japan and Korea fell 26 per cent and 18 per cent, to 24,570 tonnes and 22,633 tonnes, respectively.

Exports to South East Asia were two per cent lower, at 30,364 tonnes, while volumes to Taiwan and the Middle East, on the other hand, increased five per cent and 18 per cent, to 20,890 tonnes and 12,765 tonnes, respectively.

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