BRAZIL and the risk of avian influenza hitting major poultry-producing states has been described as a major “wildcard” for the global chicken meat trade in Rabobank’s latest quarterly outlook.
More broadly, with lower feed prices expected and demand remaining relatively tight, margins could improve in the second half of 2023.
Brazil recorded a record-high monthly export volume in March as major destination markets it supplies struggled to meet demand.
Nervousness over avian influenza has also encouraged some importers to purchase greater volumes of poultry in advance, Rabobank says.
There have been no commercial flocks affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza to date in Brazil, and the country retains its country-free status for HPAI.
However, 31 confirmed outbreaks in five states along the Brazilian coast have been confirmed. The sector is undertaking intensive surveillance and stringent biosecurity.
An outbreak, and trade restrictions, could therefore have a significant influence on the market outlook.
According to Rabobank, the European market is faring well, with prices up between January and May this year by 7% year-on-year. Meanwhile, feed costs have dropped 20% lower since January.
Aside from this, prices for competing proteins are rising – particularly for pork.
Imports are also up, however, with Ukraine challenging Brazil as the biggest exporter of poultrymeat into Europe.
“We anticipate trade to maintain its strength in the latter half of the year, as major import markets like Europe, Japan, North Africa, the Middle East, South Africa, and the Philippines are projected to increase imports due to limited domestic supply and strong/improving prices,” said Nan-Dirk Mulder, senior analyst, Animal Protein, at Rabobank.
He added, however: “Brazil, especially its poultry-producing southern states, remains at high risk should an HPAI outbreak occur in commercial flocks.
“Such outbreaks could have a major impact on global trade, with whole chicken and breast meat prices likely to be particularly affected.”