New Zealand sheepmeat imports down 18%

Sheepmeat exports from New Zealand to the UK fell to 20,800t in the first quarter of the year – down 18% on the same months in 2016.

Driving this decline were adverse currency movements that caused NZ prices to increase, as well as the commitment from retailers such as the Co-op to promote and stock British lamb, said a report by AHDB Beef & Lamb.

Total New Zealand exports grew by 12% to 147,000t in the first quarter of 2017, according to data from shipping analyst IHS Maritime.

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Despite this, the volume of NZ product coming into the EU fell by 10%, mainly due to the reduced sales to the UK, said the AHDB report.

In the first three months of 2017 the price of NZ shipments to the UK averaged NZ$7,951/t (£4,237.87/t) – down 4% on January-March 2016.

However, in sterling terms the cost increased by 19%, illustrating how expensive it had become for the UK to import from NZ.

The fall in the value of sterling had coincided with a strong appreciation of the NZ dollar against other currencies, including the euro – making the effect of currency even greater, said the AHDB report.