March 16, 2004



New Zealand Beef Exports Forecast Lowered


New Zealand's beef exports could be severely reduced this year as a result of the high New Zealand dollar.


Meat New Zealand has forecast a further fall of $NZ140 million to $NZ1.85 billion.


Meat New Zealand in making the prediction, said it would be a "severe" year if the Kiwi dollar stayed close to 70 US cents.


Meat New Zealand's annual report indicated that beef and veal export volumes rose 15 per cent in the year to September 2003, but the rising dollar slashed returns 8 per cent to $NZ2 billion.


The Dominion Post reported that beef exports were hardest hit by a high currency, with most sold in the United States.


However, a great proportion of New Zealand lamb and mutton exports went to Europe and the NZ dollar had not appreciated against those currencies as much as against the US dollar.


Meat New Zealand chair Jeff Grant reportedly said NZ beef volumes had increased into North Asia in the past six months, but NZ's grass-fed beef was not seen as a prime cut in the market.


The industry had tried to get better recognition of New Zealand beef in Asia, but there was still not an acceptance in Japan, according to The Dominion Post.