Lamb and beef are bucking the trend of falling prices for New Zealand agriculture exports.
While the ANZ Commodity Price Index for December 2008 showed monthly price decreases of 2.4 % for lamb, the Meat Industry Association (MIA) and Meat & Wool New Zealand say the trend for last year overall tells a different story.
MIA chairman Bill Falconer says NZX Agrifax data shows earnings for lamb cuts to the EU are up 30% on the same time last year, and racks and forequarters into Asia and the US are up 28%.
"This is significant and even with uncertain times given the global financial crisis we remain cautiously positive going forward," says Falconer.
Meat & Wool New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen agrees farm gate prices for lamb are much better than a year ago.
"We may see softer consumer demand given the economic downturn, but that is likely to be offset by the tightened supply of lamb globally," he says.
Similarly, while beef prices have come off their 2008 peaks, current returns are still 25 to 30% ahead of 12 months ago.
Petersen says beef and lamb exports remained a strong performer
alongside other agricultural products with over $4.0 billion of
exports annually. He says this demonstrates the benefit of
positioning lamb and beef as quality foods rather than traditional