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China Buying Less New Zealand Lamb

05 August 2015

NEW ZEALAND - A jump in volumes last month couldn’t turn around a poor first half of 2015 for New Zealand lamb exports, driven largely by less Chinese demand.

The Global Trade Information Services and Statistics New Zealand reveal a seven per cent drop in New Zealand lamb exports with Chinese shipments back 25 per cent.

High stock levels and domestic production have led to reduced demand this year.

As a whole, New Zealand’s lamb exports picked up in June, despite Chinese buying dropping 12 per cent and UK shipments down 13 per cent.

June shipments to Saudi Arabia trebled and US volumes were almost a quarter higher on June 2014.

Europeans bought more New Zealand product last month, particularly France, Germany and Belgium.

Market analysts at UK levy board AHDB Beef and Lamb said a fall in lamb production was expected.

“Supplies in New Zealand were forecast to fall as the production year progressed, as numbers of lambs coming forward fell due to the high level of slaughtering in the first half of the year,” said an AHDB spokesperson.

“However, numbers have been higher than expected, especially on the North Island.

“While slaughterings on the South Island, traditionally the larger producing region for lamb, are actually down. Consequently, production was forecast to slowdown as the year progressed.”

But AHDB noted that New Zealand produced one per cent more lamb. A hike in June lamb slaughter left first half of the year throughput at 13.8 million head.

Sheep slaughter was down three per cent in June, balancing lamb slaughter slightly, although the AHDB added: “Sheep meat production was still up eight per cent, or nearly 2,000 tonnes on the year.”

“Overall, sheep meat production for the first six months of 2015 was down one per cent at 303,700 tonnes.”

TheSheepSite News Desk

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