Gain report: Japanese poultry industry in balance
Japan’s 2013 broiler market demand and supply situation has been more in balance compared to the previous year’s surplus and total broiler consumption in 2013 and 2014 is projected to be just moderately lower than the 2012 record level.
Surplus supplies of relatively low priced broilers (both domestic and imports) pushed Japan’s 2012 total broiler consumption to a record high level at 2.165 million metric tons (MT) , according to a recent Gain report published by the USDA. This surplus condition was greatly alleviated toward year end owing to reduced total imports, especially of raw broiler meat from Brazil and the United States.
In 2012, for the first time in history, quantities of imported prepared and processed products outpaced imported raw broiler meat, driven by Japan’s continued solid demand for ready-to-eat foods (lunch boxes and take-out meals sold/served at retail, food service, and convenience chains).
Total domestic broiler production, which also reached a record high level in 2012 at 1.325 million MT, is forecast to be moderately lower in 2013 and to remain unchanged in 2014, assuming continued solid overall demand for domestic broiler meat, especially in the retail sector.
Meanwhile, as in 2012, quantities of imported prepared and processed products are expected to remain higher than imported raw broiler meat, reflecting a continued shift in market demand away from the food service sector and towards ready-to-eat foods.
Broilers comprise over 90% of Japan’s domestic poultry production, with the remainder mostly being spent hens. Very few other poultry species (mainly quail for eggs) are produced. With no sign of domestic production decreasing in 2014, ample supplies of domestic broiler meat should continue to hold Japan’s total imports just below or at the 2013 level. Increased US beef imports are expected to lead to intense cross commodity competition with imported pork and imported broiler meat (including prepared and processed products), plus low-priced domestic breast meat that has been in ample supply since 2012 for use in Japan’s ready-to-eat food business and food service industry. This situation is projected to continue to trim Japan’s demand for imported raw broiler meat in 2014, especially for the food service sector.
One potential market development that could affect the 2014 import outlook is the timing of Japan’s resumption of Thai raw broiler meat imports; Japan’s scientific review of Thailand’s poultry disease free status (including avian influenza) is still ongoing.
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