The volume of poultry meat exported by Brazil during the first quarter of 2015 contracted by 0.2 percent to stand at 928,700 metric tons, reports the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA). By value, however, the sector witnessed a more serious decline. At US$1.592 billion, shipments over the first quarter were worth 8.4 percent less than in the first quarter of 2014.

As the quarter drew to a close, however, the industry’s performance witnessed an improvement. March’s export tonnage rose by 7 percent to 348,900, yet by value there was also a contraction to US$579.9 million, or 4.3 percent.

ABPA says that March witnessed a return to normal following a difficult February, and that its outlook for the year remained unchanged, particularly as new markets, including Pakistan and Asia, had opened up to Brazilian poultry meat.

Shipments to Asia rose by 19 percent in March. Those to China grew by 42 percent, while those to Hong Kong were 5 percent higher.

“If we add together the shipments to these two markets, China has become our second most important destination,” said ABPA vice president Ricardo Santin.