UK sheepmeat imports fell by 7% in the first half of 2014, compared with the same period last year.

At 58,500t, imports were still at historically relatively low levels, largely driven by a 15% reduction in supplies from New Zealand, according to an Eblex report. “This comes as the New Zealand industry has shifted some of its focus away from Europe into China, and supplies have been somewhat tighter.” Imports from France, Spain and the Netherlands were also lower, with Irish shipments little changed on the year.

However, volumes from Australia increased by 41%, with supplies from the Falkland Islands, Uruguay, Argentina and a number of EU member states also rising. “With a more favourable world supply and demand situation this year, average values of UK imports are 13% higher on the year.”

Beef and veal imports in June also fell by 7% on the year, to 20,600t, said the report. “It is the first time since August last year that volume has demonstrated a year-on-year decline. Despite production in Ireland continuing to surge ahead in the month, shipments from Ireland were surprisingly back 3% on June 2013 levels.