The latest European Commission sheep market report shows demand for sheepmeat in China continuing to grow significantly.

The volume of sheepmeat imported by China and Hong Kong for January and February 2022 increased by in the region of 15,000t to reach over 68,000t.

The latest increase follows impressive growth in 2021, with import volumes increasing by approximately 50,000t and recorded at just shy of 450,000t.

China is by far the most dominant player when it comes to global sheepmeat imports, with the US market the next closest with imports in the region of 165,000t in 2021.

Global sheepmeat imports (source: European Commission)

The US market has also recorded significant growth in imports in the first two months of 2022, as reflected in the bar chart.

Imports have increased by over 10,000t to over 29,000t. The growth in the market is positive in light of Irish exports recently being granted market access pending agreement of a veterinary health certificate.

Global exports

The Chinese and US markets continue to account for an increasing share of Australian and New Zealand sheepmeat exports.

The Chinese market imported 50% of New Zealand sheepmeat in 2021 or in excess of 200,000t and 30% of Australian sheepmeat exports or in the region of 150,000t.

Global sheepmeat exports

The volume of sheepmeat available for export in New Zealand has been running at a lower level to date in 2022, with volumes exported falling by over 15,000t, as detailed in the sheepmeat export graphs.

In contrast, Australian sheepmeat exports have marginally increased.