Seasonality and supply see NZ exports slip
18 July 2017
In line with the typical seasonal production decline, New Zealand’s (NZ) lamb exports for May totalled almost 31,000 tonnes shipped weight (swt), down 11% year-on-year. May is just past the halfway point in the NZ season (October – September) and lamb exports for the season-to-date total just over 225,000 tonnes swt, down 4% from the same period the previous year (Statistics New Zealand).
NZ’s largest lamb export destination, China, accounted for just over 10,000 tonnes swt in May, 23% lower than year-ago levels – albeit off a high base. AgriHQ report that it is typical for lamb consumption in China to decrease at this time of year, during the summer months.
Lamb exports to the Middle East totalled just under 1,200 tonnes swt for May, down by 21% year on year. Ramadan was a key factor contributing to lower demand in the Middle East, beginning at the end of May and ending near the end of June. Volumes for the season-to-date, however, were almost double (95%) that of last year at just over 12,000 tonnes swt.
NZ lamb production in May totalled just over 36,000 tonnes cwt for the month, this was 6% higher year-on-year. The season-to-date total was almost 292,000 tonnes cwt, down 6% on the same period last season. These figures are well aligned with Beef + Lamb NZ’s projections for lamb production for the 2016-17 season – underpinned by decreased production and slaughter on the back of reduced lamb availability and fewer breeding ewes.
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