Sheepmeat imports up a third in March

Sheepmeat imports increased by more than a third, to 12,800t in March, according to a report by EBLEX.

“This was driven by a 37% rise in volumes from New Zealand, with the average unit value 21% lower than it was a year previously.” However, tight supplies meant New Zealand’s lamb prices had risen by 10% since early April, so export values were also likely to increase, it added.

Pork imports dropped by 7% in March, led by a 23% fall in shipments from Denmark. “Tight supplies and higher prices were factors but subdued demand for imported pork also held the market back.” Exports increased by more than a quarter.

Beef imports slumped by 17% in March compared with last year, with trade knocked by the horsemeat scandal.

According to the EBLEX report, frozen beef imports dropped by almost a third, with sales from countries associated with the scandal affected to the greatest extent. However, exports from the UK were also knocked, dropping 15% on the year. “While this will have been partly due to lower production (-6%), robust consumer demand and increased requirements for domestic assured cattle meant supplies available for export were lower.”

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