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Mutton exports from New Zealand rose significantly in the first quarter of this season.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand has released statistics for lamb, mutton and beef exports for October, November and December 2013 - the first three months of the 2013-14 meat export season.
While there was little change in the volume and value of beef and veal exports compared with the corresponding period last season, mutton exports were up 16.3% in volume and 22% in total value.
The average return increased by 4.9% to $5200 FOB per tonne, Beef and Lamb said.
China remained the largest market for mutton, continuing to grow rapidly. New Zealand's mutton exports to that country doubled in the first three months of the 2013-14 season from the previous season's figure.
Total exports of lamb decreased by 5.3% to 61,000 tonnes shipped weight. This reflected a decrease in bone-in cuts, partly offset by an increase in frozen carcasses exported to China.
The decrease in volume was counterbalanced 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 $8,400 FOB per tonne in the quarter.
Total exports of beef and veal were almost unchanged, down 0.5% to 68,000 tonnes shipped weight.
''This reflected a notable decline in exports to North America - down 13% - although partly offset by rises in exports to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and China,'' Beef and Lamb said.
''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.
''This drop in manufacturing beef and veal was not fully compensated by the exports to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and China. Meanwhile, exports of boneless beef (either chilled or frozen) increased.''
Volumes exported to Indonesia quadrupled compared to the first quarter last season. That was due to a change in import regulations, with a price reference system replacing the quota system.
''Exports to Indonesia are now back to levels seen in late 2011.''
The total value of beef and veal exports increased 0.5% from the same quarter last season.
Overall, receipts for beef and veal exports averaged $5900 FOB per tonne - up 1.0%.
The average return from China for beef and veal ($5500 FOB per tonne) was larger than that from the US ($5200).
- Beef and Lamb's interactive meat exports tool allows people to generate and download customised data and graphs of export lamb and beef statistics by market, value, and volume. It can be accessedat: portal.beeflambnz.com/tools/export-tool