Sheep meat exports from New Zealand in the year-to-date stand at 326.2 thousand tonnes, a 3% (9.9 thousand tonnes) rise on the year, according to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand.
As it has been noted on several occasions this year, New Zealand has exported less sheep meat to the UK, which has in part been driven by a decline in UK domestic demand. New Zealand exports of sheep meat to the UK totals 43.5 thousand tonnes in the year-to-date, a decline of almost 20% (10.5 thousand tonnes) year-on-year.
China is the world’s largest importer of sheep meat and is the largest receiver of New Zealand sheep meat exports, receiving 118.6 thousand tonnes between January and October this year. This is a 7% (8 thousand tonnes) rise on the same period last year. New Zealand sheep meat exports to the US totalled 24.2 thousand tonnes in the year-to-date, a 28% (5.3 thousand tonnes) rise year-on-year.
During the month of October, New Zealand sheep meat exports totalled 20.9 thousand tonnes, an 18% rise on the same month last year. New Zealand exports to China during October totalled 7.6 thousand tonnes, a 67% rise year-on-year; the high Chinese mutton prices may be encouraging New Zealand to send supplies there rather than elsewhere. Continuing with the trend recorded throughout 2017, New Zealand exports to the UK in October fell by 6% compared to the same month last year, standing at 3.5 thousand tonnes.
Industry reports suggest that some New Zealand lambs have been coming forwards for slaughter earlier than expected due to the dry weather conditions, which may have bolstered the supplies available for export.