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Records all round for dairy and meat exports


The first four months of the 2019/20 dairy export season has set records, boosted by higher prices and volumes, Stats NZ said today.

Lamb and beef export prices also reached record levels at the end of 2019. Dairy products and meat, New Zealand’s top goods exports, together account for almost 40 percent of the value of annual goods exports.

In the ongoing 2019/20 dairy export season, the value of dairy exports rose 17 percent from August to December 2019 compared with the same period last year, with quantity up 6.7 percent.

“So far, this season’s dairy exports have already exceeded $6.6 billion,” international statistics manager Darren Allan said.

“This is the highest value of dairy exported for the four months from August to December, surpassing the previous peak of dairy exports for the same period in 2013/14, which was driven by high prices.”

This year, quantities were 13 percent higher than in 2013/14.

For December alone, dairy exports of milk powder, butter, and cheese reached $2.0 billion (up $228 million from December 2018), the highest value on record for any month.

Of these dairy commodities, milk powder was the main contributor to the rise (up $149 million to $1.2 billion). The rise was driven by price, as quantity fell slightly for the month (down 0.4 percent). In December 2019, milk powder exports to China were down $68 million from the same month last year.

Beef and lamb prices reach record levels

Meat and edible offal exports also contributed strongly to the rise in total exports in December 2019, up $146 million from December 2018 to reach $791 million. This rise was driven by record high prices for beef and lamb.

Beef led the rise in meat exports, up $114 million from the same month last year to $392 million. This rise was driven by price – average beef prices reached a record $9.42 per kilo in December 2019. Quantity was also up slightly by 4.9 percent compared with December 2018.

“Beef prices have been steadily rising in the last few months, with the average price of beef increasing 22 percent since September 2019,” Mr Allan said.


Average lamb prices also reached a record $12.18 per kilo in December 2019, pushing up total lamb exports to $251 million (up $22 million or 9.5 percent). This rise in price contrasts with a fall in the quantity of lamb exports (down 4.5 percent), with exports to the United States down $11 million.

Overall, in December 2019, the value of total goods exports rose $255 million (4.8 percent) from the same month last year to reach $5.5 billion.

The value of total goods imports fell $283 million (5.4 percent) to $5.0 billion.

The monthly trade balance was a surplus of $547 million.

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