The latest food outlook published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) suggests that global poultry production is expected to grow by 1.6% to 108.7 million tonnes in 2014.
The expansion is largely driven by the developed economies as production in developing countries is expected to decline. The Chinese poultry industry has been battling with the avian flu outbreak which started in 2013 and as a result the production is forecast to fall by 1.7% in 2014.
In the US, production is projected to rise by 1.8% to a record 20.6 million tonnes, while EU production is forecast to increase by 0.8%. Brazil and Mexico are also expected to show some production gains. Similarly, production in Russia and India is projected to increase by 8% and 6% respectively.
Russian government policy initiatives to increase domestic poultry production led to a fall in EU chicken exports to Russia of 18% in 2013, and a further decline of 2% is expected for 2014, as EU poultry meat exports fall to "less than half of what they were in the mid-2000s".
In terms of trade, the global trade in poultry meat has doubled over the past decade, however growth has slowed down in 2012 and 2013 and a 2.4% increase is anticipated in 2014. FAO notes that "the four leading exporters, Brazil, the United States, the EU and China, which together account for almost three-quarters of global trade, have seen little expansion in sales in recent years."
FAO highlights the differing geographical focus of the second tier exporters, Thailand, Turkey, Argentina, Ukraine and Belarus. Of these, the first three are projected to continue recording strong growth in 2014 and each has focused on a different region or market segment:
Thailand – mainly the Japanese market and EU markets for boneless poultry cuts and prepared poultry meat;
Turkey – mainly Middle Eastern markets;
Argentina – mainly Latin American markets (but looking to broaden its focus by targeting markets in China and South Africa, among others).
In Africa, imports are forecast to increase by 4.8%, well above the average increase in world trade. Ghana and Benin are among the countries where imports are projected to increase most, "as income growth strengthens demand". In South Africa, which is the major African destination for imported poultry meat imports, imports in 2014 are projected to remain unchanged.
In terms of price, between 2009 and 2013, US and Brazilian dollar-denominated poultry meat reference prices were 24.3% and 29.8% higher respectively. More generally, the FAO poultry meat price index rose from 162 in 2009 to 206 in 2013 (+27%). The 2013 FAO annual price index figure, however, masked the continuous fall in poultry meat prices from the third quarter of 2013. These declines stabilised in 2014 with the index currently standing at 189, an increase of only 16.7% on the 2009 level.