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04

2022

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12

Lower Chinese demand weighs on East Asian sheep meat imports

Source:

AHDB

Demand for sheep meat in key East Asian markets has fallen overall so far in 2022 compared to the same period a year ago.

Demand for sheep meat in key East Asian markets has fallen overall so far in 2022 compared to the same period a year ago.

 

This has mainly been driven by lower Chinese imports, where stocks of sheep meat have reportedly built up due to an escalation of COVID restrictions. These restrictions have caused a rapid reduction in food service demand, where the majority of imported sheep meat is sold.

 

However, China remains the key market for sheep meat in the region, importing 273,200 tonnes of fresh and frozen product during the 9 months to September 2022. Although, this was back 18% year-on-year, closer to the volume imported over the same period in 2020.

 

Declines were seen in other markets, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, but from much lower bases.

 

New Zealand and Australia remain key suppliers of sheep meat into East Asia, predominantly serving the Chinese market. New Zealand is China’s key supplier of sheep meat (56% of the market by volume in the 9 months to September 2022), thus feeling the largest impact from lower demand in the country. By contrast, Australian shipments have stayed relatively stable into China through this time (around 110,000 tonnes).