Lamb exports climb to record monthly levels

Exported lamb, price per kg and $value, monthly, January 2015 to February 2019

Lamb exports reached record levels in February 2019, bumping up overall meat exports to a new monthly high, Statistics NZ says.

Lamb exports were $391 million in February 2019, a new record for any month. The previous high was in May 2018 ($367 million).

This month’s rise was driven by higher prices, as quantity was little changed from May last year.

“Lamb prices peaked in October last year and remain at high levels,” says acting international statistics manager Dave Adair.

“This is consistent with high lamb prices in the supermarket.”

Export lamb prices have lifted by 20 percent from $8.59 per kg in February 2015 to $10.31/kg in February 2019.

Beef exports were up $43 million in February 2019 to reach $311 million, compared with the same month a year ago. While both value and quantity are up, the rise was mainly due to increased quantities.

Overall meat exports rose $81 million to reach a new record high for any month of $839 million in February 2019, due to the high lamb export values. The previous high for meat exports was in March 2015 ($827 million).

  • Lamb was up $55 million (16 percent) to $391 million; quantity was up 9.9 percent.
  • Beef was up $43 million (16 percent) to $311 million; quantity was up 11 percent.
  • Mutton was down $14 million (13 percent) to $90 million; quantity was down 18 percent.

The statistics show China was New Zealand’s top export partner (ranked by total annual goods exports) which was up $304 million (32 percent) to $1.2 billion. The rise was led by meat and edible offal (up $91 million) and milk powder (up $87 million).

Export value movements $ of lamb and beef to top destinations cf Feb 2018

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