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USDA International Egg and Poultry

22 January 2014

USDA International Egg and Poultry: US Broiler and Poultry Meat ExportsUSDA International Egg and Poultry: US Broiler and Poultry Meat Exports

A recent study from the USDA Economic Research Service examines the growth in broiler meat exports focusing on several major markets.
USDA International Egg and Poultry

Assessing the Growth of US Broiler and Poultry Meat Exports

The United States is the world’s second largest broiler meat exporter, and exports have become a valuable source of income for the US broiler industry. This study highlights the growth in broiler meat exports to several major markets. Factors that have affected US broiler meat exports include increased efficiency in domestic production, income and population growth in destination markets, exchange rate shifts, trade policy and trade conflicts, and relative price changes for other meats. Exports have benefited in particular from foreign markets that prefer cuts that are less valued in the United States. Also, exports are supported by the general expansion of US broiler production, which has been stimulated by slower consumer price increases than for most competing products and by consumer perceptions of the health benefits of eating poultry versus red meats. US broiler meat exports are projected to rise about 12 % between 2013 and 2022.

Two major developments occurred in international poultry trade during the first decade of the 21st century: a rapid increase in poultry meat exports from Brazil and a sharp decrease in imports by Russia. Between 2001 and 2012, Brazilian exports more than doubled, increasing from 1.2 mmt to 3.5 mmt. Brazil’s broiler meat exports rose because of low corn prices and cheap labor. Total US broiler meat exports grew by 9.2 % between 1997 and 2002 and by 31 % between 2001 and 2012. Growth in Russia’s poultry industry, coupled with reduced tariff rate quota (TRQ) volumes for imported broiler meat, has contributed to a sharp decline in exports to Russia, especially over the past several years.

Economic growth in foreign countries, particularly middle- and lower-income countries with rising demand for animal proteins, has been an important driver of global consumer demand for broiler meat. Increases in meat disappearance are associated with population growth, changes in per capita income, urbanization, and other demographic factors. Among the major export markets for US broiler meat, Angola and China have had sizable growth in broiler meat imports, fueled at least in part by strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Of the major broiler-meat export markets, Angola and Mexico have had the highest percent of population growth, which (along with strong-tomoderate growth in GDP) boosted their demand for broiler products. As incomes in many of these countries grew, many consumers increased the amount of meat in their diets. For these consumers, chicken meat was usually less expensive than most cuts of beef or pork.

In many countries, growth in income facilitated higher broiler meat imports and per capita disappearance. Income growth accompanied population growth in most emerging markets for US broiler meat exports. Russia is an exception, with negative population growth since 1997, but rising per capita incomes have contributed to stronger Russian demand for broiler meat. However, Russian domestic investment, trade policies, and the 2009 economic crisis have contributed to volatility in US broiler meat exports to Russia.

In emerging markets like China and Angola, more people have migrated from rural to urban areas. Higher urban populations and rising poultry disappearance at restaurants prompted a higher demand for more processed broilers, which in turn spurred import growth. For example, in China, a much higher share of chicken in urban areas is consumed in the form of chicken parts rather than whole chickens (Hsu et al., 2002)

Because worldwide broiler meat exports are dominated by two low-cost producing countries, the United States and Brazil, broiler producers in some importing countries are not price competitive with major exporters. The cost of producing a broiler differs from country to country, depending on the price of feed, labor, birds, technology, and production facilities as well as the ability of producers to achieve economies of scale. For broiler production, feed is the largest single production cost. One reason that the United States and Brazil are major producers and exporters is their position as large feed grain producers, which allows their broiler industries access to feed at prices and quantities unavailable to many producers in importing countries.

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