[30 August/Rural News Group] Continuing strong growth in Chinese demand for New Zealand beef is set support solid returns for the nation’s beef producers over the coming year according to Rabobank Sustainability and Animal Proteins Analyst Blake Holgate. Mr Holgate states that a significant recovery in US imported beef prices and slowing domestic supplies has culminated in a healthy price recovery to a point that is largely in line with last year’s pricing levels. Looking out over the next 12 months, Mr Holgate reports beef prices are expected to remain elevated, but believes that this might not be the case long-term due to increases in global beef production, along with other competing proteins. Mr Holgate states while ASF is a key factor in boosting New Zealand beef exports into China, increased Chinese demand for New Zealand beef is also part of a longer-term trend as their consumer habits change.