NZ sheepmeat shipments track above year-ago levels

31 March 2016

NZ lamb exports have increased 10% for this season-to-date (October 2015-February 2016), compared to the corresponding period the year before, to 131,357 tonnes swt (Statistics NZ).

After the first five months, exports to:

  • China increased 15%, to 40,880 tonnes swt
  • The UK increased 10%, to 30,295 tonnes swt
  • The US increased 13%, to 8,516 tonnes swt
  • The Netherlands increased 34%, to 8,005 tonnes swt
  • Germany increased 1%, to 7,116 tonnes swt

AgriHQ suggests a slight recovery in global market prices of late, albeit off a historically low base. However, in recent weeks, NZ processors have signalled a decline in prices as airfreight orders for Easter chilled lamb come to a close and processors become more exposed to the weaker frozen market.

Despite the increase in shipments so far, lighter lamb carcase weights and lower slaughter levels in 2015-16 are forecast to result in a 8% decline year-on-year in NZ lamb exports for the season, at 277,000 tonnes swt (Beef + Lamb NZ).

NZ mutton exports have followed a similar trend so far this season, increasing 13% on the previous year – at 41,016 tonnes swt. After the first five months, shipments to most markets were up year-on-year, with China the exception – back 1% to 21,598 tonnes swt. Mutton volumes to the UK and Taiwan increased up 3% and 63%, to 3,603 tonnes swt and 3,585 tonnes swt, respectively.

Similarly to lamb, total mutton exports for 2015-16 are forecast to drop 9% year-on-year, to 78,000 tonnes, due to lower supply.

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