7 Feb 2024

Value of red meat exports drops to $10b in 2023

5:41 pm on 7 February 2024
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Photo: 123RF

Issues affecting the red meat sector have been laid bare with exports worth 11 percent less in 2023 compared to the year before.

New figures from the Meat Industry Association show despite red meat exports growing in volume last year the value was down to $10.2 billion.

China remained the largest market but exports fell 16 percent to $3.6b, exports to Japan fell 31 percent to $388 million, 22 percent to the UK to $361m and four percent to the Netherlands, to $347m.

MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said red meat exports were a good barometer of the state of the global economy.

"The drop was mainly due to tough economic conditions and inflationary pressures in many of our key markets.

"Consumers around the world still want to buy red meat but they are not paying as much for it."

Karapeeva said increased supply from other exporters, including a significant increase in Australian sheepmeat exports, also had an impact.

But she said the meat sector has a diverse export market strategy which helped companies minimise the impact of weakening demand and pricing in any one single market.

"Exports to the United States rose eight percent, to $2.5 billion, largely due to increased demand for beef.

"With red meat sales declining in China, companies have other options and are making sound commercial decisions."

That's apparent with the latest beef export figures - last year beef exports grew by 7 percent in volume to 511,680 tonnes with beef exports to the US growing by 46 percent alone to 181,040 tonnes.

Sheepmeat export volumes were up three percent to 384,239 tonnes. However, the value was down 14 percent to $3.7b.

Karapeeva said Australian sheepmeat exports rose by 25 percent in 2023 and by 50 percent to China.

"China's tariff on Australian sheepmeat also dropped to zero at the beginning of 2023, meaning New Zealand no longer enjoys a tariff advantage in the market."

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