GLOBAL poultry markets are continue their recovery following the worst of the covid pandemic, with European prices for whole chicken significantly higher at the end of 2021 than a year earlier.

There is a relatively tight supply situation, according to Rabobank’s latest analysis, caused by avian influenza, salmonella issues in Eastern Europe and high input prices – particularly from feed costs.

See also: Poultry feed prices hit new highs

Despite the tight supply situation, imports into Europe have not been higher. Total imports from Q1 to Q3 2021 dropped by 5%, due especially to reduced imports from the UK (-8%) and Ukraine (-12%).

Thailand, a major exporter of breastmeat into UK and Europe, is struggling with labour challenges – lockdowns and restrictions are translating to fewer immigrant workers, particularly from neighbouring Cambodia.

Higher sales prices

In Europe, the outlook is for supply to remain constrained in the first six months of 2022. “The challenge will be for processors to convert higher costs and lower supply into higher sales prices,” Rabobank suggests.

Worldwide, the bank expects markets to be strong this year, though covid-19 may still make for a ‘bumpy road’.

“The industry will need to be ready to adjust sales channels in response to government
measures. The operational side will also see challenges, as feed and other input costs, like freight and energy, are expected to stay high.”

Overall, Rabobank expects global poultrymeat production to be up 2% in 2022.