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NZ beef, lamb and mutton prices fall

NZN 18/04/2016 Jonathan Underhill

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 per cent to $7,350 a tonne in the six months ended March 31, while the volume of exports fell 3.7 per cent to 204,200 tonnes, said Beef + Lamb NZ.

The price of lamb fell 4.2 per cent to $8,500 a tonne as volume climbed 5.9 per cent to 162,700 tonnes. Mutton prices fell 10 per cent to $4,800 as volume rose 0.5 per cent 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 per cent increase in exports to North Asia was followed by a 5.5 per cent gain in the second quarter. Exports to North America fell 15 per cent 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 per cent and product sent to the European Union rose 7.2 per cent, partly offset by a decline of about 33 per cent in exports to the Middle East.

Chilled lamb exports rose 12 per cent in the first six months of the season while frozen lamb exports fell 3.6 per cent. Of total shipments, 29 per cent was chilled, up from 27 per cent 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 per cent while exports rose to the EU, South Asia and North America. North Asia also recorded the biggest decline in value, Beef + Lamb said.

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