UK sheep meat exports rose in December
UK sheep meat exports have increased by 12% in December, totalling 10.400 tonnes. This is the highest export level for the month since 2017 and could reflect traders positioning themselves before the EU-exit date, according to AHDB. The largest increase was recorded in shipments going to Ireland, which totalled 1,400 tonnes, 700 tonnes more than the year before. "For 2020 as a whole, UK sheep meat exports were 7% (6,800 tonnes) lower year on year, at 88,200 tonnes. Demand from the EU foodservice sector, in particular, would have been lower, as was UK production", explained Bronwyn Magee, AHDB analyst.
UK imports of sheep meat also fell in December, down by 8% (400 tonnes) year-on-year, totalling 5,100 tonnes. This decline was driven by fewer shipments from New Zealand, which fell by 5% (200 tonnes) year-on-year, to total just 3,400 tonnes. This comes as more volumes from New Zealand and Australia continue to be drawn to Asian markets, an increasing trend we have seen over the past year. Overall for 2020, UK imports of sheep meat totalled 58,500 tonnes, down on the year by 7% (4,100 tonnes). Shipments from New Zealand for the year totalled 38,100 tonnes, 2% lower than volumes imported in 2019.