WELLINGTON, May 24 (Xinhua) -- New Zealand's annual goods exports to China increased 2.7 billion New Zealand dollars (1.76 billion U.S. dollars) from April 2018 to reach 15 billion New Zealand dollars (9.77 billion U.S. dollars) in April this year for the first time, with rising demand for beef and lamb as well as logs and dairy products, Stats NZ said Friday.
The annual meat and edible offal exports to China were 1.5 billion New Zealand dollars (0.98 billion U.S. dollars), up 905 million New Zealand dollars (589.73 billion U.S. dollars) from the year which ended April 2018.
"The strong demand recently from the Chinese market for alternative protein sources, such as New Zealand beef and lamb is partly due to African swine flu reducing pork production in China," international statistics manager Tehseen Islam said.
The rise in annual lamb exports was driven by the rise in the value of lamb sent to China, while traditional markets such as the Europe Union remain similar or have shown slight falls.
"We are also seeing a similar picture in the beef market," Islam said. "The value of beef exports to China nearly doubled in the year to April 2019 compared with the previous year."
Logs also contributed to the exports rise to China, up 514 million New Zealand dollars (334.94 billion U.S. dollars) to reach 2.5 billion New Zealand dollars(1.63 billion U.S. dollars) in the year to April this year.
Goods export values to China rose 22 percent in 12 months to April this year and now account for nearly half of all exports to Asia, and about a quarter of all New Zealand's exports.