ANALYSIS - Things could be looking up for the global poultry industry overall, if the forecasts of a new report turn out to be right. Markets are more balanced, protein prices are high and feed ingredient prices look to be stabilising at a lower level. But "Don't count your chickens until they have hatched," as the saying goes! Also in the news, the USDA has been criticised for a pilot programme to improve inspections in poultry plants.
A new report on the global poultry industry this week forecasts an improved outlook in most of the world.
According Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory team, the improving outlook for the poultry industry is driven by better market balances, ongoing high competitive protein prices and lower grain costs.
“The global industry is benefiting from improved global market conditions, although significant regional differences exist,” explained Rabobank analyst, Nan-Dirk Mulder.
“Companies operating in markets with a well-balanced supply/demand situation, such as the United States, are expected to benefit from these positive developments. However, the likes of Russia and South Africa are still suffering from oversupply, driven by structural changes in market conditions.”
Global trade volumes are being held back by the economic slow-down in key emerging economies, currency depreciation in Japan, and volatile demand in China and Hong Kong, and so global trade volume is forecast to remain relatively flat for the rest of the year.
The bank's analysts expect industry consolidation to continue.
The same report states that the Agri Commodity Market Research team at Rabobank is bearish on most agri-commodity prices, predicting further falls in grain and oilseed prices to the end of 2014.
In the US, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come under fire for failing to make a full evaluation of pilot projects set up as a basis for changes in the poultry processing inspection system.
The Government Accountability Office said in a report that the USDA did not thoroughly evaluated the performance of each of the pilot projects over time even though the agency stated it would do so when it announced the pilot projects.
Commenting on the report, the National Chicken Council (NCC) said it agrees with GAO’s conclusions that strengths of the modernised poultry inspection system include giving plants responsibility and flexibility for ensuring food safety and quality and allowing USDA inspectors to focus more on food safety activities.
NCC stressed that the aim is to make food safer, adding that "the poultry inspection system should be modernised to transition to a model that is more science and risk-based, from one that was implemented in 1957.”
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