[2 October/ New Zealand Herald]

The beef sector is concerned that the strength of the New Zealand dollar and falling United States prices weigh more heavily on exporters. Rabobank Animal Proteins Analyst Blake Holgate said beef prices had dropped over the past quarter, and further downward pressure was expected from increased Japanese tariffs on frozen beef imports, creating additional challenges for New Zealand exporters. Japan’s tariff rates for beef imports were recently lifted to 50 percent for all countries excluding Australia, Mexico and Chile. A farmers’ confidence survey by Rabobank last week identified beef and sheep farmers were most concerned about global commodity price volatility. Mr Holgate said the US had dominated 2017 trade with US beef export volumes up 11 percent and 15 percent in value on the previous year. For the quarter to August, New Zealand beef prices fell by 2 percent, impacted by the decline in demand for ground beef from US importers. Rabobank was expecting New Zealand’s cattle supply to remain limited until at least November.