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NZ Beef and Lamb Exports Ease in May

18 June 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

NEW ZEALAND - New Zealand beef exports fell by three per cent year-on-year during May, to 43,079 tonnes swt, as the NZ cow processing season started to slow according to figures from Beef + Lamb New Zealand.

Shipments to the US increased by three per cent on May 2011, to 23,993 tonnes swt, which led to a three per cent increase in the US market share of New Zealand beef exports, at 56 per cent, according to analysts at Meat and Livestock Australia.

While US retail demand is expected to soften in the coming months as the seasonal peak of the US Memorial Day has passed, demand for prime cattle should pick up following the cow cull.

Exports to Japan (3,898 tonnes swt) and South East Asia (3,204 tonnes swt) increased 13 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, year-on-year, during May, however these gains were offset by declines in shipments to Korea (down 17 per cenrt, to 2,889 tonnes swt), the EU (down 10 per cent, to 1,567 tonnes swt) and Canada (down 63 per cent, to 1,260 tonnes swt).

Meanwhile, New Zealand lamb exports also fell by three per cent year-on-year in May, despite jumping 30 per cent on last month, to 30,178 tonnes swt.

This is the second highest monthly volume since May 2011, resulting in total January-May exports declining 4% on the same period last year, to 135,461 tonnes swt.

Despite shipments falling 27 per cent year-on-year, the EU remained the largest export destination for New Zealand in May, reaching 10,439 tonnes swt.

Domestic new season lambs are currently being processed throughout Europe at discounted rates to imported lamb, resulting in decreased demand for New Zealand lamb.

China has continued to absorb the excess lamb on the market, with shipments jumping 44 per cent year-on-year, to reach 7,509 tonnes swt. Shipments to the Middle East also increased in May, up 15 per cent year-on-year, to 3,947 tonnes swt.

New Zealand mutton exports during May remained steady at 5,354 tonnes swt, with significant increases in shipments to the EU (1,580 tonnes swt) and China (1,101 tonnes swt), matched by decreases in shipments to the Middle East (272 tonnes swt) and the US (215 tonnes swt).

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