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United States bought $1.8 billion of red meat from New Zealand

Staff writer |
American appetite for New Zealand beef continued last year as sales rose to $1.49 billion, compared to $1.2 billion in 2014.

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The United States bought $1.8 billion of red meat from New Zealand, of which just $300 million was sheepmeat, according to the Meat Industry Association figures.

China continued to grow as a market for New Zealand red meat with a spend of $1.55 billion for the year, compared to $1.4 billion the year before.

While the value of sheepmeat to China fell slightly to $631m, beef exports continued their upward trend to reach $550m. Tripe and casings to China fetched $300m in 2015, although this was down on the high of $450m in 2012, before the Chinese banned the import of "green runners".

Potentially the China market could provide even higher returns if more expensive chilled red meat could be exported.

Weak demand from the U.S. at the beginning of the year saw New Zealand beef prices there reach a low point of $5.05 a kilogram, but as peak grilling season arrives in the second quarter, prices should rise.

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