China's sheepmeat imports continue rising

by Editor
Friday, August 28, 2009

Sheepmeat imports into China in the first half of 2009 continued the upward trend that has been evident over the past four years. Imports jumped 18% during the first half of 2009, to 38,144 tonnes swt, announced Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).

New Zealand was the biggest supplier of imported sheepmeat into China during the six months to June (holding a market share of 54%), with the volume totalling 20,710 tonnes swt – 16% higher than the same time in 2008. Imports from Australia surged 22% during the same period, to 16,702 tonnes swt – representing 44% of the total imports.

Strong demand for imported sheepmeat in China was mainly attributed to continued population growth, higher consumer income and stagnant domestic production over the past years. In addition, the swift development towards retail outlets (and away from traditional markets) and the expanding foodservice sector also increased consumers’ exposure to quality imported sheepmeat. A large proportion of imported sheepmeat is used in traditional lamb hot pot dishes across China.