Beef and Lamb New Zealand statistics paint a rosy picture
of lamb and mutton exports. Photo from ODT files.
Mutton exports have risen significantly over the first
quarter of the 2013-14 meat export season and China is the
Statistics released by Beef and Lamb New Zealand showed the
total volume and value of mutton exports rose by 16% and 22%
respectively, compared with the corresponding period a year
ago. The average return increased by 4.9% to $5200 free on
board (FOB) per tonne.
The Chinese market continued to grow rapidly. Mutton exports
to China doubled in the first three months of the 2013-14
season, compared with last season's first quarter.
Total lamb exports dropped by 5.3% over the quarter, to
61,000 tonnes shipped weight. That reflected a decrease in
bone-in cuts, partly offset by an increase in frozen
carcasses exported to China.
The decrease in volume was offset by an 8.9% increase in
average value, resulting in the total value of lamb exports
rising by 3.2%.
The receipts for lamb exports averaged $8400 FOB per tonne
over the quarter.
Total exports of beef and veal were almost unchanged, down
0.5% to 68,000 tonnes shipped weight, reflecting a notable
13% decline in exports to North America, although partly
offset by rises in exports to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan
The drop in exports to North America reflected a decrease in
exports of manufacturing beef and veal, related to low bull
and cow slaughter figures for the period.
The total value of beef and veal exports increased 0.5% in
the first quarter, compared with the previous year.
Overall, receipts for beef and veal exports averaged $5900
FOB per tonne, which was up 1%. The average return received
from China for beef and veal was larger than that from the
US, at $5500 and $5200 FOB per tonne respectively.
Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface was relatively upbeat
on prospects for beef prices this year, due to fairly tight
Extended drought in the US, a major market for New Zealand,
resulted in widespread culling of stock, pushing cattle
numbers to multi-decade lows.
Favourable conditions for dairy producers should reduce
culling of dairy cattle, meaning a sharp reduction in cattle
available for slaughter, Ms Boniface said.
New Zealand beef producers should also benefit from growing
demand from emerging markets as beef consumption increased as
That was illustrated by the surge in beef exports to China.
From less than 1% in early 2012, 9% of New Zealand beef
exports, by value, over the year to November 2013, were
destined for China.
While China was one of the largest beef producers in the
world, domestic production had struggled to keep pace with
growth in demand, meaning increased demand for exports, she