New Zealand sheep meat trade update

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New Zealand has slaughtered 12.8million sheep and lambs in the first half of the 2021/22 season (which began in October), totalling 256,000 tonnes of sheep meat, down 14% on the same time last year.

Exports of sheep meat for first half of the 2021/22 season totalled 200,858 tonnes, also down 14% for the same period last year, matching the drop in production. Lamb exports are currently forecast to end the season down only 1% on last season, with mutton exports down 3.1%, according to theĀ beef and lamb NZ mid-season update.

Exports to China have dropped by 26% year on year, likely due to shipping disruption and lockdowns dampening demand. Demand patterns from China will be a key driver of export performance for the rest of the season, as any volatility in this market will be felt in overall export volumes, with China taking up a market share of over 50%.

Sheep meat to the US has increased by 15%, helped by a relatively low exchange rate between the NZ$ and US$, and exporters utilising the US retail market whilst food service recovers from covid disruption. However, there is caution over future demand in the US; although demand is currently high, as consumers tighten their purse strings, demand is expected to fall.

Exports to the EU are up 18% as supplies on the continent remain tight. Exports to the UK are down 7% due to good domestic supply.


Freya Shuttleworth / AHDB

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