Global meat and poultry prices have risen dramatically in the last decade. Using the averages of 2002 through 2004 prices as an index, Brett Stewart, partner, Global AgriTrends said that poultry prices have more than doubled, beef prices have nearly doubled and pork prices have risen by around 50 percent since 2004. Stewart told the WATT Meat and Poultry Supply and Price Forecast webinar audience that the average increase in price for all meats has been around 75 percent over the 2002 through 2004 average.

Rising world demand for meat and poultry has been fueled by population growth and growth in incomes, primarily in developing countries. Poor growing conditions have produced below trendline crop yields in the U.S. for four consecutive years and this, coupled with EU and U.S. biofuels policies, has caused an increase in feed costs, which have slowed the growth in meat and poultry production. Global beef production has been flat with no growth from 2008 through 2013, while at the same time, global pork and poultry production continued to grow at around 2 percent per year.

Over the last two years, China and Hong Kong have combined to more than double beef imports and become the world's largest importers of beef. This has come at the same time that global beef prices are near record-high levels and world production is flat. U.S. beef production is projected to be down 1 percent in 2013, but U.S. beef exports are expected to be up 2.8 percent this year.

Recent records set for meat and poultry trade:

China beef imports (July)

Hong Kong beef imports (July)

Australian beef to China (July)


U.S. beef to Hong Kong

U.S. beef exports (2nd highest month in July)

U.S. broiler exports to Mexico (May)

U.S. broiler exports (Jan-Jul)

U.S. pork and broiler exports (2012)