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EU Sheep Meat Imports Drop as China Buys

24 September 2014

EU – Europe is importing less sheep meat this year following a drop in availability of New Zealand product, market figures for the first six months of the year show.

Much of this reflects lower New Zealand trade into the UK which fell 15 per cent on the corresponding period during a 2013, a very strong year for imports.

Overall shipments are back two per cent to 97,400 tonnes, well below historic levels, said market analysts at levy board EBLEX.

January to June imports are well up on 2012 however, with tonnage from 2004 to 2010 reported as ranging from just under 130,000 to just over 140,000 tonnes.

The reason for the decrease from New Zealand is partly due to strengthening Chinese trade, EBLEX explained.

However, EBLEX added: “Import data from France, the Netherlands and Belgium all point to a significant increase in imports from New Zealand during the first six months of the year.”

With New Zealand falling ‘well short’ of its quota allocation, suppliers have moved to fill gaps with Australia being the obvious answer.

EBLEX added: “There were also increased imports from Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, the Falkland Islands and Iceland. This comes as the EU is still quite an attractive market to these suppliers as it remains a relatively high value compared with a lot of other destinations.

“However, with much lower quota allocations and generally smaller sheep sectors (except for Australia) these suppliers are unable to fully replace the shortfall in New Zealand shipments.

“With a better supply and demand position, the global trade average values have been higher, resulting in the average unit value rising to €6,100 during January to June, up from €5,400 during same period in 2013. Nonetheless, this was still lower than 2012 level when the market was very tight.”

TheSheepSite News Desk

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