Global broiler production will stand at close to 80 million metric tons by 2018, forecasts the US' Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI). Over the decade to 2018, growth is expected to average some 2% annually, lifting output from 65.4 million metric tons in 2008 to 79.5 million metric tons.

Alongside this growth in output, FAPRI predicts there will be an expansion in trade, with total net imports and exports rising from 6.9 million metric tons to 8.4 million metric tons over the same period.

Largest producers

The US is expected to maintain its position as the world's largest producer. Although production is expected to contract somewhat this year to 16.38 million metric tons, from 2010 onwards production is forecast to expand by 1.3% annually to reach 18.83 million metric tons.

China is expected to achieve almost double this growth rate over the same period. With annual expansion forecast at 2.5%, by 2018 the country will be producing 16.3 million metric tons.

Output from the world's third largest producer, Brazil, is forecast to expand by some 2% per annum. As a result, production in 2018 is expected to be in the region of 13.1 million metric tons.

The outlook is less impressive, however, for the EU. FAPRI predicts that the EU's annual growth rate will be only 0.5%. Total output will rise over the period by 414,000 metric tons to stand at 8.81 million metric tons.

The Indian poultry industry is expected to record an annual growth rate of some 2.7% per annum, meaning that, with an estimated total output of 3.24 million metric tons, India will push Mexico down to sixth place in the production league table.

The country forecast to exhibit the highest growth rate, at some 3% per annum, is Russia, where output is expected to exceed 2 million metric tons by 2018.

Argentina and Thailand are also expected to show strong growth rates over the next decade with annual production expanding by some 2.6%. The former is expected to produce approximately 2 million metric tons per annum by 2018, while the latter is forecast to reach 1.5 metric million tons.

Changing markets

The current slowdown in world economic growth will impact adversely on overall meat consumption. In developed countries, people are eating out less, cooking more often and choosing cheaper meat options. This change can benefit the poultry industry as consumers buy less red meat and turn to chicken. However, in developing economies, where, in some instances, 50% of income is spent on food, some consumers may switch back from meat to a vegetarian diet.

However, it is not only consumer demand that will influence output fluctuations in the price of inputs will also play their part. While energy and feed prices may have fallen recently, in the long term, they are likely to rise.

Nevertheless, for those markets reviewed by FAPRI, all but one are expected to see an increase in consumption over the longer term.



Growth in the global population, greater chicken consumption and, in the long term, higher income levels will lead to an increase in trade. By 2018, world trade in broiler meat is expected to increase by almost 22%. Total net exports (exports minus imports) are forecast to rise from the 7 million metric tons recorded last year, to stand at almost 8.4 million metric tons by 2018.

Brazil, the world's largest exporter, will increase its exports by almost 900,000 metric tons over the next decade and by 2018 will be supplying the rest of the world with 4.2 million metric tons of poultry meat each year. In contrast, the US, which is the second largest exporter, will see its exports rise by only 400,000 or so metric tons, or reach 3.4 million metric tons.

While Brazil and the US will continue to account for more than 90% of world broiler meat exports, there will be significant changes in their respective market shares.

Over the four years to 2008, Brazil captured 48% of global export trade while the US secured 43.2% of the market. Between 2014 and 2018, however, Brazil's share is expected to grow to almost 52% while that of the US will decline to a little over 42%.

A variety of factors can influence trade patterns. Thailand, for example, has steadily rebuilt its exports of poultry meat following the low of 200,000 metric tons recorded in 2004 as a result of the avian influenza crisis. Last year, the country's exports stood at 350,000 metric tons and FAPRI forecasts that by 2018 this will have expanded by 42% to reach almost 500,000 metric tons.

In contrast to many of its competitors, the EU has moved from being a net exporter to a net importer of poultry meat. This situation is expected to continue and, by 2018, the EU's net imports are expected to be in excess of 90,000 metric tons per annum.

Decline in meat imports in Russia

Russia's broiler meat imports exceeded 1.2 million metric tons last year. However, its import quota for this year has been reduced to 950,000 metric tons. Although FAPRI predicts a decline in broiler meat imports of around 1% annually to 2018, it nevertheless believes that annual purchases will remain in excess of 1 million metric tons at that date.

Following Russia, Japan is the world's largest importer of poultry meat, purchasing some 675,000 metric tons last year. The country is expected to increase annual imports by an average of 1%, meaning that, by 2018, it will be importing 750,000 metric tons per annum.

China has recorded staggering growth rates in many sectors of its economy and it would seem that demand for poultry meat will be no exception.

By 2018, the country is forecast to be importing 612,000 metric tons of poultry meat annually, which means an annual expansion in imports of the order of 13%!

More liberal arrangements introduced by Mexico for chicken meat imports are likely to result in an annual increase in purchases of around 5% a year, pushing the total close to 670,000 metric tons by 2018.

While broiler growing in Saudi Arabia is forecast to increase by some 135,000 metric tons to 700,000 metric tons the country's imports are also projected to expand by almost 2.3% every year, boosting the annual total by 120,000 metric tons to some 600,000 metric tons.