NZ beef, lamb and mutton prices fall in first half of exporting season

Prices for beef and veal fell 2.5% to $7350 a tonne in the six months ended March 31.

New Zealand export beef, lamb and mutton prices fell in the first half of the current season, which tapered off after a strong start.

Prices for beef and veal fell 2.5% to $7350 a tonne in the six months ended March 31, while the volume of exports fell 3.7% to 204,200 tonnes, said Beef + Lamb NZ. The price of lamb fell 4.2% to $8500 a tonne as volume climbed 5.9% to 162,700 tonnes. Mutton prices fell 10% to $4,800 as volume rose 0.5% to 51,200 tonnes.

Beef+Lamb said the price decline would have been worse if not for a weaker kiwi dollar.

The drop in beef volumes was driven by a decline in frozen shipments while chilled beef volumes were unchanged from a year earlier. Volumes were skewed to the first quarter when a 55% increase in exports to North Asia was followed by a 5.5% gain in the second quarter. Exports to North America fell 15% in the first half of the season, although most of the drop-off was in the second quarter.

Lamb shipments to North Asia climbed 11% and product sent to the European Union rose 7.2%, partly offset by a decline of about 33% in exports to the Middle East. Chilled lamb exports rose 12% in the first six months of the season while frozen lamb exports fell 3.6%. Of total shipments, 29% was chilled, up from 27% in the first half of last year's season.

Shipments of mutton to North Asia, the nation's biggest market for the meat, fell 9.4% while exports rose to the EU, South Asia and North America. North Asia also recorded the biggest decline in value, Beef + Lamb said.

(BusinessDesk)