FAO/GIEWS - Food Outlook No.2 - May 2002 p.12

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Meat and Meat Products

International meat markets in 2001 witnessed rising prices for meats other than beef, particularly poultry, in the wake of animal disease outbreaks which closed some meat markets and, in the case of BSE, heightened human health concerns around the globe. In 2002, however, a return to past meat consumption patterns is expected to provide some support to international beef prices, as will lower production in the US, the world’s largest beef import market, and a resumption of high quality beef shipments from South America to Europe. Increasing exportable supplies for all meats may, however, constrain any significant upward price movements. The general price outlook will also be affected by the Russian Federation’s import ban in early 2002 on US chicken, which triggered a sharp drop in US leg quarter prices. Lower chicken meat prices over the course of the year may limit upward price movements for other meats.

Global per caput meat consumption in 2002 is projected to recover by 1 percent to 38.8 kg, after declining in 2001 for the first time in nearly 30 years. In the developed countries, per caput consumption of meat is forecast to rise marginally to 78.3 kg after declining in the past two years. The gain in consumption in developing countries, while not expected to reach the average growth rate of 4.1 percent achieved over the past decade, is nevertheless expected to strengthen by about 2 percent, taking per caput consumption up to 28.2 kg/caput.

Meat Supplies Rise As Impact of Animal Diseases Wanes

After the adverse impact of animal disease outbreaks in 2001, meat markets are preparing for a sharp increase in meat supplies in 2002 in anticipation of a return to earlier consumption and trading patterns. As exporting countries put an end to the massive animal culls and FMD vaccination which characterized meat markets in 2001, global meat output in 2002 is forecast to rise to 241 million tonnes, up 2.4 percent from the previous year, which experienced the lowest output growth in two decades. All meats are likely to witness stronger output growth in 2002, with those other than beef supported by last year’s rising prices and stable feed costs.

After slipping 1 percent in 2001, beef production is expected to recover to a record 60 million tonnes this year, up 2 percent. The developing countries are set to expand their share of global production further in 2002 following a 4 percent increase in their output. This will be facilitated by lower output in the United States, the producer of one-fifth of global beef supplies, and continued strong growth in the largest developing country producers of Brazil and China. A resumption in normal slaughter patterns in the EC is expected to prompt a 4 percent jump in beef production there, while the decade-long output declines in transition economies are expected to extend into 2002.

World Meat Production

2000 2001 2002
  ( . . . . million tonnes . . . . )
WORLD TOTAL 232.5 235.2 240.9
Poultry meat 67.7 69.6 71.6
Pig meat 89.6 90.9 93.2
Bovine meat 59.6 58.9 60.0
Sheep & goat meat 11.4 11.4 11.7
Other meat 4.3 4.3 4.4
128.0 131.5 136.0
Poultry meat 35.4 36.9 38.2
Pig meat 52.3 53.6 55.4
Bovine meat 29.5 30.0 31.1
Sheep & goat meat 8.1 8.2 8.5
Other meat 2.7 2.7 2.8
104.6 103.8 104.9
Poultry meat 32.3 32.7 33.4
Pig meat 37.3 37.4 37.8
Bovine meat 30.0 28.9 28.9
Sheep & goat meat 3.3 3.2 3.2
Other meat 1.6 1.6 1.6

Source: FAO Note: Total computed from unrounded data

Sheep and goat production, despite declining supplies in developed countries, is expected to rise by 2.3 percent, driven mainly by strong growth in China, the major Asian producer, with additional gains in Pakistan and India. Some flock recovery is likely in Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Sudan; the latter prompted by increasing access to livestock markets in the Near East. Reduced supplies from Oceania are expected in response to flock rebuilding in New Zealand.

Moderate feed prices and strong demand are expected to support respective output gains of 2.9 percent and 2.4 percent for the poultry and pork sectors, with the strongest gains expected to be realized by South America and Asia. Most of the poultry output gains will be generated in developing countries, however, poultry’s share of global output is expected to slip marginally in 2002 to 29.7 percent, as growths in other meats recover.

International Meat Prices

FAO index of
meat prices
Indicative international meat prices
Chicken 1/ Pork   2/ Beef 3/ Lamb   4/
  (. . 1990-92=100 . .) (. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . US$/tonne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .)
1994 102 921 2 659 2 384 2 975
1995 99 922 2 470 1 947 2 621
1996 96 978 2 733 1 741 3 295
1997 96 843 2 724 1 880 3 393
1998 83 760 2 121 1 754 2 750
1999 84 602 2 073 1 894 2 610
2000 85 592 2 083 1 957 2 619
2001 84 645 2 077 2 138 2 912
2002 84 5/ 614 5/ 2 128 5/ 2 336 6/ 3 111     7/

Source: FAO
1/ Chicken parts, United States export unit value. 2/ Frozen pork, United States export unit value. 3/ Manufacture cow beef, Australia, cif prices to the United States. 4/ Lamb frozen whole carcass, New Zealand, wholesale prices London. 5/ January-February 2002. 6/ January-April 2002. 7/ January-March 2002.

Meat Trade Prospects Favourable as Consumption Recovers and Prices Remain Sluggish

Expanding exportable supplies from countries restricted from exporting in 2001 due to animal disease concerns, specifically Uruguay, Argentina, some EC countries, and the Republic of Korea, are expected to push up meat shipments in 2002. Global meat trade is forecast at 18.4 million tonnes in 2002, 4 percent above the lacklustre performance in 2001. Strong gains are expected for all meats, with the exception of ovine meat, which is likely to be constrained by reduced exportable supplies in Oceania.

World Meat Exports 1/

2000 2001 2002
  ( . . . thousand tonnes . . . )
WORLD 17 327 17 663 18 382
Poultry meat 7 328 7 648 7 968
Pig meat 3 271 3 442 3 602
Bovine meat 5 715 5 520 5 763
Sheep meat and goat meat 768 809 803
Other meat 245 245 246

Source: FAO
Note: Total computed from unrounded data.
1/ Includes meat (fresh, chilled, frozen prepared and canned) in carcass weight equivalent; excludes live animals, offals and EC intra-trade.

After declining by an estimated 3 percent in 2001, beef shipments are forecast to reach a record 5.8 million tonnes in 2002, up 4.4 percent from the previous year’s level. Many markets previously closed to meat products from those countries in South America and Europe afflicted with FMD are opening, implying a realignment in market shares in 2002. A 20 percent jump is forecast in South American beef exports to regional markets in South America and selected countries in the EC, as Argentina and Uruguay are now officially recognized as “FMD free with vaccination”. This is expected to move up the region’s share of global beef markets to one-fifth of global totals. While EC exports are likely to witness strong export gains, the expected shipments of 600 000 tonnes will remain significantly below their WTO export subsidy limits of 822 000 tonnes. In North America, herd rebuilding, high prices, and a strong US dollar will pressure US exports down by an estimated 5 percent. As for imports, markets, such as Egypt, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Canada and the United States, are expected to register strong import gains. By contrast, however, the impact of food safety concerns in Japan arising from outbreaks of BSE in late 2001 are spilling over into 2002 with Japanese consumers, for the second consecutive year, expected to reduce consumption of imported beef.

Considerable instability in the global poultry meat market has surfaced in the first quarter of 2002. Issues relating to poultry diseases and escalating concerns regarding the use of unauthorized antibiotics in feed have led to numerous import bans and heightened border inspections and testing. These issues range from illegal antibiotics found in Thai and Chinese chicken, the ban on US chicken by the Russian Federation, and some other CIS countries, as well as bans related to the outbreaks of low-pathogenic avian influenza in the eastern United States and avian flu in China (Mainland) and Hong Kong, SAR. Despite this backdrop of uncertainties, global poultry trade is forecast up 4 percent to nearly 8 million tonnes in 2002. Many of these market disruptions are expected to be of short duration and import demand, disrupted over the first months of 2002, is projected to recover quickly. Imports by the Russian Federation, after jumping 11 percent in 2001, are anticipated to be up by less than 1 percent. A nearly 30 percent fall in the price of US leg quarters as a result of the month-long Russian import ban is expected to induce strong buying by other markets, particularly in Asia and Central America. Meanwhile, BSE-related concerns in Japan are likely to support increased poultry imports.

Strong demand for pigmeat in Asia, the recipient of nearly half of global imports, is expected to support a nearly 5 percent jump in pigmeat trade to 3.6 million tonnes. The Japanese imposition, in August 2001, of a “safeguard” (higher tariffs in response to import surges) on pigmeat imports was expected to constrain imports in late 2001 and early 2002. However, BSE concerns and a shift in Japanese consumer preferences to meats other than beef, prompted a nearly 30 percent jump in pigmeat deliveries in late 2001, pushing up Japanese import prices by 25 percent. Continued strong imports by Japan, the largest pigmeat market, are forecast in 2002, despite the likelihood that the safeguard will be automatically triggered again in 2002. Strong import demand is also expected from Hong Kong, SAR, the Republic of Korea, Mexico and the Russian Federation. Strong competition from the Canadian pigmeat industry and the high value of the US currency are expected to reduce US exports in 2002, while a moderation in prices in the EC and Brazil, in the context of higher output, is likely to facilitate product shipments. Meanwhile, a clean bill of health for the hog industry in the Republic of Korea could result in a resumption of exports to Japan after a two-year FMD-related hiatus.

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