Analyst Intel

13 August 2019

China boosts beef buy

ByAlan WilliamsAlan Williams

China's new status as the leading destination for beef exports now covers a bulky lift in chilled products.

But the expensive cuts going into Japan make it the high-value market.

China had the largest chilled volumes for the year ended June 30, the three months to the end of June and for the month of June.

It took 7070 tonnes for a 21% share New Zealand’s annual exports, a 273% increase over the previous year, edging Japan which took 6756/t, a 20% share. 

Japan’s imports were worth $91.1 million, 21% of chilled export value, while China’s $63m worth was 15%.

The next biggest chilled markets were the United States, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan and French Polynesia.

In the June quarter China had a 27% share with 2571/t, up 190%, ahead of Japan 1751/t or 19% share. Next in line were the US, UAE and Taiwan. 

By value, Japan was just above $24m and China just below that figure for a 225% increase over the year before.

The pattern was similar for June with China first at 815/t or 27%, a 189% increase, and Japan up slightly at 613/t and the same three countries at third to fifth on the list. Again, Japan was tops on value with $8.6m or 22% of receipts and China $7.6m, up 223%, ahead of the US at $4.6m.

Though China tops the list for chilled imports, they make up a small portion of its New Zealand beef, just 3.2% of the total 25,596/t in June and about 4% of both the 64,771/t for the quarter and 171,173/t for the year.

The exponential growth in the monthly exports by value of beef and edible offal to China this year, compared to the previous five years, is highlighted on the graph.

Total Japanese imports for the six months to June, covering the start of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, were 29% higher than the corresponding time in 2018, Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie said.

The Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland were the main European markets but not major destinations.

Australia was eighth on the list for chilled NZ beef in June, taking 93/t, a 73% lift on the previous year. For June, it was in 10th place for total beef imports, taking 360/t, just a 1% share of NZ exports, but a volume lift of 214%. 

Ritchie said total beef export volumes for the June year rose 9% but the increase in value was much greater at 13%.