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.