China takes pole position for NZ sheepmeat exports

By Carina Perkins

- Last updated on GMT

China is importing more NZ lamb and beef
China is importing more NZ lamb and beef

Related tags New zealand Roasting Meat Developed country China Lamb new zealand Beef Lamb

China became New Zealand’s biggest single sheepmeat market last year, accounting for 28% of lamb exports, 52% of mutton exports and 33% of sheepmeat exports.

According to data from Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), total sheepmeat exports to China reached 131,000 tonnes (t) in 2012-13, compared with 74,000t exported to the UK.

However, the organisation added that the value of exports to China remained “well behind” returns achieved in EU markets, which account for 40% of total lamb exports.

“The average value received from China was $4,800 FOB per tonne, compared with $9,000 per tonne from the EU and $11,500 from the US,”​ it said.

“This reflects the product mix exported to the different countries. Exports to developed markets include a higher proportion of cuts that are case-ready. Cuts exported to China will generally be further processed before being consumed.”

The data revealed that total New Zealand lamb exports were up 18% to 313,000t last year, although average value was down 16%. The majority of lamb exported (98%) was bone-in or boneless cuts, with just 2% exported in carcase form.

Beef and veal exports were up 4.6% year-on-year in 2012-13 to 367,000t shipped weight. Although the US remained New Zealand’s largest market for beef and veal, accounting for 48% in 2012-13, B+LNZ said that exports to China increased almost six-fold, from 6,300t in 2011–12 to more than 36,000t in 2012–13.

It added that the average value of beef exports to China increased 15%, hitting the same level as received from the US.

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