Red meat exports for April were 2% higher than the same month a year earlier at $996 million, new data shows.
An analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA) confirms that the April increase arrested three consecutive months of year-on-year declines.
Compared to April last year, exports of red meat to China were up 21% to $379m, the United States was up 7% to $235m and Germany up 30% to $32m.
This was offset by decreases to the United Kingdom, down 40% to $34m; Japan, down 49% to $28m; and South Korea, down 21% to $24m.
Fifth quarter exports were up 3% to $183m.
Beef exports for the month led the increase, rising 18% to 46,732t with the value 6% higher at $420m.
This was helped by a 23% increase in volumes exported to China (18,764t) and 45% increase to the US (18,296t).
MIA chief executive Sirma Karapeeva said US domestic beef production is slowing as drought conditions ease in parts of the country, creating increased demand for imported beef.
Beef exports to Korea and Japan both fell, with Japan down 55% by volume to 1,437t.
Karapeeva said Japanese consumer spending was impacted in April by the highest non-fresh food prices in 47 years.
Sheepmeat export volumes overall were up 10% to 38,627t but their value was down 2% to $393m.
Compared to last April, there was a growth in exports to China and the major European markets but declines into the US and UK.
The decline in value and sales to the US was due to a drop from high values last April, but conditions in the UK remain challenging for sheepmeat.
Karapeeva said while beef and sheepmeat prices continued to increase from the recent low levels at the start of this year, global markets remain volatile and uncertain.
She said some markets performed well, but there were decreases in all exports to the UK and Japan where consumer spending remains constrained in the face of continued high food inflation.