China's Sheep Demand Begins to Take Off14 November 2013
CHINA - During September China imported 24,200 tonnes of sheep meat a rise of 158 per cent year on year. This was driven by increased imports from the three suppliers of New Zealand, Australia and Uruguay.
This latest month takes the total volume of Chinese imports in the first nine months of 2013 to 191,000 tonnes, a rise of 116 per cent year on year.
New Zealand continues to be the largest supplier, accounting for 59 per cent of imports. However, with volumes only 104 per cent higher year on year, the other suppliers have gained some market share.
Volumes from Australia were 125 per cent higher year on year and accounted for 38 per cent of Chinese imports.
Uruguay continues to be the only other official supplier of sheep meat to mainland China, with volumes up nearly 400 per cent on year earlier levels, accounting for three per cent of total Chinese imports.
This considerable rise in volumes consolidates China’s position as the world largest import market for sheep meat in volume and total value terms.
The average value of these imports has also been higher as the market evolves to take higher value cuts, with unit values up three per cent year on year (in local currency).
This increase being at a time when the vast majority of world markets have recorded falling average unit values due to weaker pricing globally.
While the market is evolving the average unit does remain well below the more established markets such as the EU and North America.
However, the rise in prices and better cuts is an encouraging sign that China will start to compete more and more with these markets.
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