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USDA forecasts Eurozone chicken production up 1.1 percent in 2020, exports steady-down

USDA this week has estimated chicken meat production in the Euro zone (EU-27+UK) in 2020 to increase by 1.1 percent from 2019.

12 March 2020, at 2:34pm

This increase follows 1.6 percent growth in 2019, driven by increased domestic EU-28 consumption and higher than anticipated exports. The EU-28 chicken meat production increase in 2019 was also notably driven by a 4 percent production increase in Poland which is now the leading chicken meat producing country in the European Union.

The slower production growth in western European countries in 2020 is also due to higher feed prices, stricter environmental regulations, such as in the Netherlands, high labor costs, such as in France, and the lack of investments in updated production facilities, such as in Germany. Consumption EU-27+UK domestic consumption of chicken meat is expected to increase more than total population growth in 2020, indicating a small increase in per-capita consumption. This is due to the switch from other meats to chicken meat because of weak economic conditions in some EU-27+UK countries as well as consumer preference changes toward learner and easier to prepare meats.

Trade EU-27+UK chicken meat imports are expected to increase by 2 percent in 2020. While imports from Thailand and Ukraine are anticipated to remain strong, imports from Brazil are expected to regain some market share. Chicken meat imports from Ukraine are anticipated to stabilise after the closure of the loophole that benefits Polish producers.

USDA said it is yet to be seen if the COV-19 outbreak in China will impact Chinese exports (estimated at 25,000 MT in CY 2019) of chicken meat to EU-27+UK in 2020.

EU-27+UK chicken meat exports in 2020 are expected to stagnate due to the HPAI outbreaks in Poland and Hungary that led South Africa, China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, and the Philippines to ban Polish and Hungarian chicken meat, while others, Ukraine, Belarus, Hong Kong, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia applied regionalised bans.

A downward trend will likely continue in 2020.

Since the autumn of 2019, a new wave of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) subtype H5N8 is infecting primarily wild birds in northeastern Europe. As in previous years, migrating birds are believed to be the conduits for its spread. Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Czech Republic identified outbreaks in farmed birds, while infected wild birds were also found in Germany. As a result of the findings in Germany, the Netherlands ordered farmed poultry to be kept inside in order to avoid contact with wild birds. The Belgian government has so far resisted calls from Belgian poultry farmers for similar measures.