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USDA Market News - New Zealand Meat Export Summary and Prices

Beef: NZ beef exporters suffering from whiplash after another sharp turn in U.S. beef market. The 6-8c/lb lurch put prices back to highs of 2 weeks ago. An 11c/lb jump put U.S. domestic cow price up more sharply as tight supplies of both imported and domestic beef caused traders and end-users to scramble for product. Asian demand is strong, particularly in Southeast Asia but prime cut prices did not rise much. NZ farmgate prices generally firm. Beef production in 2002/03 season set new record with cow, heifer and bull production all at very high levels.

Lamb: Weekly NZ production remains very low, almost 40% down compared to last year. This fuelled surge in spot market prices, particularly for legs in the UK. With NZ exporters struggling to supply long term contracts, prices largely academic and likely to prove short-lived once production picks up. Current average carcass weights approaching 20kg and at record levels. Stronger NZ$ took some of gloss off improved meat prices and farm- gate prices steady in South Island and up slightly in the North Island. Lamb production in 2002/03, at just under 25 million was about average for last 10 years but record carcass w meant tonnage produced was second highest.

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