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