March 7, 2020


New Zealand's red meat exports surge amid Covid-19


New Zealand's meat exports in January 2020 increased by 26% compared to January 2019 despite global market instability due to coronavirus.


The country's exports of red meat and by-products were worth US$873.2 million in January 2020, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).


The value of beef exports grew 50%, sheepmeat grew 18% and by-products were up 2%.


Meanwhile, there was a drop in the average value of beef exports to China over the same period, down from US$9.17/kg in December 2019 to US$8.67/kg in January 2020. However, this was still higher than in January 2019 (US$7.28/kg).


MIA says the New Zealand red meat sector has demonstrated its agility by rapidly diverting the products into other markets as the coronavirus-related slowdown became apparent.


Overall, exports of sheepmeat and beef increased 10% in January by volume, compared to December 2019. Although beef exports to China, Japan and Korea fell, a similar volume was still exported globally. The volume of beef exports to the US increased by 38% and to Canada by 48% on-month.


Tim Ritchie, chief executive of the MIA, says the latest figures underline the resilience of New Zealand's red meat sector and its global networks .


"Despite disruptions to the supply chain cause[d] by the coronavirus, the underlying global demand for protein remains strong. New Zealand's red meat sector exports to 120 countries around the world and that international network of customers has enabled the industry to respond quickly and divert product to other markets," Ritchie said.


"But New Zealand cannot take this resilience for granted. The red meat sector is a key driver of prosperity for the New Zealand economy and underpins countless regional communities. We need policy settings which recognise this contribution," he added.