China has undoubtedly been in the meat industry spotlight recently for the wrong reasons, following constant trade spats with the US and African swine fever (ASF) causing problems for pork producers.
However, Rabobank has revealed that ASF’s threat to China’s pork trade has fuelled the demand for poultry in the area as a replacement.
ASF outbreaks have led to enormous pig culling in the Asian country, which we reported as 900,000 at the beginning of the year, and this could result in a 5% increase in Chinese poultry demand, according to Rabobank.
“Global poultry demand is expected to grow between 2-3% this year, with China expected to be more bullish (around 5%) than in recent years due to poultry being used as a substitute for pork,” said Rabobank senior analyst for animal protein Nan-Dirk Mulder.
“The recent case of frozen food being contaminated with ASF will likely add further weight to this trend in processed meat. The shift away from pork will benefit white broiler meat, as well as yellow chicken and duck, and beef.”
Rabobank’s outlook also revealed that a solution to China’s trade war with the US could be a new trade agreement between the countries, which they said could “shake up trade”.
“The current negotiations between China and the US to solve their trade dispute are important. Rumours suggest this could lead to a re-opening of US chicken exports to China. If this happens, the increased availability of chicken might help solve China’s tight protein supply situation,” added Mulder.
“The recent agreement between China and Brazil to overcome the safeguards by China on Brazilian poultry imports, is also positive in this regard. Most importantly, Brazilian exporters are still able to export to China, although agreed price conditions are unknown.”
Rabobank also suggested that the re-opening access for other markets, including Eastern European countries, was also important for China’s import growth. It described Poland and Ukraine as countries that could potentially export “significant” volumes to China.
Other openings, such as Russian poultry exports to China earlier this year, were credited by Rabobank as it has a big “distance advantage”.