Strong demand improves meat export returns

A more favourable exchange rate and strong demand – particularly for beef – saw average meat export returns improve in the first quarter of the 2014-15 season.

Beef + Lamb NZ (B+LNZ), which compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country, has summarised activity during the first quarter of the 2014-15 meat export season (1 October 2014 to 31 December 2014).

Oct-Dec 2014 Export Returns
Source: B+LNZ. Please note that all values quoted are FOB (free on board) and in New Zealand dollars.

After increasing in 2013-14, the average per tonne value of lamb exports continued to improve in the first quarter of the 2014-15 meat export season (up 8.7 percent to $9,140 per tonne). The amount of lamb exported was down 6.2 percent to 57,500 tonnes shipped weight, compared with the same period last season. Of the main export destinations, North America was the only region to see an increase in volumes. The total value of lamb exports rose by 2.0 per cent to $526 million.

Mutton exports

Compared to the first quarter of last season, New Zealand mutton export volumes fell 4.4 percent to 17,200 tonnes shipped weight. However, in a historical context, volumes remained at high levels.

Demand from North Asia softened in the first quarter of the 2014-15 season. North Asia accounted for 68 percent of total mutton shipments – down from 77 percent during the same period last season. As a result, New Zealand mutton export destinations were more diversified than in 2013-14, with a surge in exports to South Asia, North America and the European Union.

The average per tonne value of mutton exports increased by 3.5 percent to $5,420 per tonne in the first quarter of the season, driven by an improvement in average values achieved in every region, except North Asia. The decrease in export volumes offset the increase in average per tonne value, leading to a 1.1 percent decline in the total value of mutton exports, to $93 million.

Beef and veal exports

From October to December 2014, New Zealand beef and veal exports registered a record high 78,000 tonnes shipped weight, up 14 percent on the same period in 2013. This reflects record high international beef prices, driven by a beef shortage in the US and high slaughter numbers in New Zealand partly due to low dairy prices.

The additional beef that New Zealand exported was essentially directed to North America, particularly to the US. North America accounted for 58 per cent of New Zealand beef and veal exports in the first quarter of the 2014-15 season, up from 45 percent in the same period last season.

B+LNZ Strong Demand improves meat export returnsAlong with this increase in shipments, there was a strong increase in beef and veal’s average per tonne value, which rose 29 percent to $7,670 per tonne in the first quarter of the 2014-15 season, compared with $5,940 per tonne last season. In the three months to December 2014, beef and veal export returns reached nearly $600 million – up 48 percent on the same period in 2013.

Material supplied by B+LNZ, which compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country.

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