The outlook for the global poultry industry is expected to be improved in the second half of 2020, as the industry recovers from challenges being brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the recently released Rabobank Poultry Quarterly report.

Poultry demand will be more bullish during the second half of the year, as COVID-19 containment measurements are eased, lifting demand through foodservice. The biggest market driver for the half will be the economic downturn, making global markets more volatile and price driven, according to the Rabobank report. Such conditions are generally positive for poultry, since it is the least expensive meat protein, which has a short and flexible production cycle.

According to the report, poultry prices will see some recovery after historic lows in the first half, with traded poultry prices dropping between 5% and 25%. Breast meat should benefit from the reopening of foodservice, although trade will remain difficult. Dark meat will likely do better. Supply in some markets will be tight, due to reduced parent stock.

“Volatility could be exacerbated by ongoing challenges to balance supply and demand and by exchange rate instability. On the other hand, the bearish feed price outlook will provide producers some relief on the cost side of their businesses,” Nan-Dirk Mulder, senior analyst – Animal Protein, said in a press release.

U.S. outlook

According to the report, there was no noticeable change in the U.S. breeding flock through April, but placements were down 14 million in May. As a result of those lower placements, the number of broilers being slaughtered in the coming months should be reduced. This reduction is expected to be partially offset by gradual increases in weights.

For the year, Rabobank expects 1% production growth, and poultry consumption should benefit as consumers seek lower-cost proteins.

European outlook

Poultry prices in Europe have dropped by 15% on average since March, Rabobank, with the larger drops occurring in countries like Poland and the Netherlands, which have a heavy focus on exports.

The outlook for the European poultry industry is improving, as placements dropped significantly since late April. The impact is now being seen with some improvement in prices.

As lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased, demand for poultry products is expected to recover. In the second half of the year, Rabobank expects conditions to be very price driven. Potential COVID-19 cases could create additional volatility.

South African outlook

Prices for poultry have fallen in South Africa by about 10% as a result of COVID-19-related lockdowns, which came at a time of high supply. The almost disappearance of foodservice demand led to an even larger oversupply and lower breast meat prices, Rabobank reported.

The easing of lockdown measures should help demand recovery, while imports will be pressured by ongoing weakness of South Africa’s currency, the rand.

Japanese outlook

The outlook for the Japanese poultry industry is expected to be challenging in the second half with a predicted economic recession that will make the market more price-driven. Lower feed prices will be a positive.

High levels of poultry in cold storage will challenge the position of major exporters during the second half of the year.

View our continuing coverage of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic