New Zealand exported red meat worth USD 885 million during August 2022, up 34% compared to the same period in 2021. The three major red meat export markets for the month were China, the US and Japan. In terms of value, beef exports to China reached USD 235 million, up 91% year-on-year (y-o-y). In volume terms, New Zealand beef exports to China rose by 49% y-o-y, to reach 23,599 tonnes, the highest monthly (beef) volume exported to China since June 2019.
The reopening of the hotel, restaurant and institutional (HRI) sector has supported the recent rise in beef imports. Imported beef, typically higher quality beef and standardised muscle cuts, remain popular in high-end restaurants, thus driving the demand for beef imports. Also, to lower the rising domestic beef prices, China has been increasing its beef imports.
Between January and August 2022, China imported 1.7 million tonnes of beef from the global market, an increase of 1.5 million tonnes from the year before. As a result, cattle deadweight prices have stabilised at CNY 65.8/kg in China, up 1% both quarter on quarter and y-o-y. In 2023, beef imports from China are likely to be lower y-o-y, due to stronger global beef prices expected in 2023.