Looking ahead, Francisco Turra, chief executive of the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA), has identified a number of factors that point to increased exports of chicken meat, pork and eggs from Brazil in the coming 12 months.

Recent production forecasts for 2017 from the ABPA point to an increase of 3 to 5 percent in the production of chicken meat in Brazil in 2017, and around 2 percent for pig meat and eggs, following a series of challenges to these sectors this year. Despite falling back in recent weeks, feed costs for pigs and poultry were way above the normal range for much of 2016, and the general economic downturn in the Brazilian economy hit domestic consumption of animal proteins.

For poultry and pig product exporters, the exchange rate approached BRL3.50 to the U.S. dollar in the third quarter of 2016. This is considered by Brazilian exporters to be close to the ideal level, according to Turra.

Freedom from avian flu to boost Brazilian exports of chicken meat

For the first nine months of 2016, exports of chicken were 4.022 million metric tons (mmt), which is 3 percent more than in the same period last year. However, November’s volume was down by more than 15 percent from the level 12 months previously at 328,200 metric tons (mt). The value of those exports for the period January-November 2016 was US$6.275 billion, a decrease of just over 4 percent from the same time-point the year before.

For the 2016 calendar year, ABPA forecasts that Brazilian chicken exports will reach 4.39 mmt, which is 2 percent above the 2015 level, while a 4.1-percent reduction in the value of the shipments to US$6.875 billion is expected.

Looking ahead to 2017, both production and exports of chicken will increase by between 3 and 5 percent, according to ABPA.

Main reason for this optimistic forecast for exports is the high sanitary status of the Brazilian poultry sector, according to the association. With avian influenza currently affecting other exporting countries, Brazil is in a good position to make up missing volumes when countries impose restrictions on poultry products from regions or countries with disease outbreaks.

“It is worth remembering that Brazilian poultry farming is the only one in the world never to have registered outbreaks of the disease,” said Turra.

He also highlighted that the suspension has now ended in the authorization of certain plants for the Chinese market, which should increase shipments next year. Furthermore, Mexico has raised its import quota for Brazil's chicken meat.

Egg exports set to take increasing share of production

Exports of Brazilian eggs are small in comparison to the country’s trade in poultry and pig meat, and the business has declined further this year.

For the period January-November 2016, the volume of shipments was 42 percent below the previous year’s level at 9,799mt, and the value of the trade was down 37 percent at US$13.324 million.

ABPA is forecasting a 3 percent rise in the country’s egg exports for 2017.

Strong growth in pork exports

With a volume of 682,000 mt, Brazil shipped 34 percent more pig meat for the first 11 months of 2016 than in the same period of last year, according to the ABP. The value of the trade was 14.8 percent higher at US$1.374 billion.

With a further 5 percent growth in exports forecast, this strong performance on the international markets is expected to continue in 2017.

Turra said that the South Korean market, one of the largest pork importers in the world, is expected to open to Brazil next year. China is expected to authorize more Brazilian processing plants for exports, and there is a good prospect that Mexico will switch some of its imported pork requirements to Brazil from the U.S. owing to what Turra describes as the “Trump effect.”