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Strong demand improves meat export returns

13 January 2015

Strong demand improves meat export returns

Beef + Lamb New Zealand compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following summarises activity during the first quarter of the 2014-15 meat export season (1 October 2014 to 31 December 2014).


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.

Please note that all values quoted are FOB (free on board) and in New Zealand dollars.

Lamb exports

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 per cent to $9,140 per tonne). The amount of lamb exported was down 6.2 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent of total mutton shipments – down from 77 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent in the same period last season.

Along with this increase in shipments, there was a strong increase in beef and veal’s average per tonne value, which rose 29 per cent 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 per cent on the same period in 2013.

Note: European Union includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden.

North America includes: Canada, Mexico, United States of America.

North Asia includes: China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Macao, Taiwan.

South Asia includes: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam.

Meat exports interactive tool

Download customised analysis and graphs of New Zealand export lamb, mutton and beef statistics (by market, value and/or volume) by visiting

About Beef + Lamb New Zealand:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ltd is the farmer owned industry organisation working for a confident and profitable sheep and beef industry. It works to help farmers make informed business decisions and promote their collective interests. Priorities include investing in research and development that meets the needs of farmers and the sector, developing farm and farmer capability and delivering knowledge that drives farm performance. It also works to attract and retain talent for the sector, supports the sector’s market opportunities, advocates for farmers ability to operate and builds sector confidence and profile within communities.

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