Rabobank report: US chicken exports down in early 2024

China alone imported about 55% less U.S. chicken in the first three months of the year.

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The United States exported less chicken during the first three months of 2024 than it did during the same three months of 2023, according to information from the most recent Rabobank Poultry Quarterly report.

Broiler export volumes for the first quarter amounted to 275,000 metric tons, which is a year-over-year decrease of about 13 percent.

Accounting for approximately 80 percent of that drop is a reduction in exports to China, as shipments to that country was down 55 percent for the quarter. China was the United States’ second-largest customer for the first quarter of 2023, but it dropped to the fourth-largest buyer.

Also contributing to that decline were decreased exports to Mexico, Taiwan, Guatemala, Canada and Angola. Partially offsetting those declines were increased shipments to Cuba, Philippines, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The 10 largest importers of U.S. chicken during the first three months of 2024, in order, are: Mexico, Cuba, Taiwan, China, Philippines, Guatemala, Canada, Vietnam, UAE and Angola.

The report stated that reduced exports are also expected for the second quarter, which just ended. However, the decline isn’t expected to be nearly as drastic, with a 0.5 percent drop anticipated.

U.S. broiler production also slightly down

According to the Rabobank report, broiler production in the United States was down 0.2 percent for the first three months of 2024 when compared to the first quarter of 2023.

That drop was attributed to ongoing hatchability issues and disease challenges.

Because many integrators are switching to heavier bird weights and are being aided by lower feed costs, overall broiler production in the United States is expected to rebound in the second quarter, with a 0.8 percent year-over-year increase anticipated.

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