Japan Expected to Set Broiler Consumption Record This Year

JAPAN - Japan will post new records for broiler meat production, consumption, and importation in 2015, a recent report from the US Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service predicts.
calendar icon 14 September 2015
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The records will arise from poultry sales outpacing relatively higher priced pork and beef in both the retail and food service sectors.

Pork prices have now begun to soften, but the trend of moving towards lower-priced chicken meat continues as taxes and a weakened yen put pressure on food prices. There will be more competition between poultry and pork in the latter part of the year, but beef prices will remain high, the report says.

Driven by record-breaking levels of both domestic production and of imports, the report projects Japan’s 2015 total broiler consumption to reach a new record high at 2.245 million MT, exceeding the previous record set in 2014. It also predicts that this record consumption will remain steady during 2016.

Climbing slightly higher, Japanese broiler production (at 1.375 million MT or 665 million broilers) and Japanese broiler imports (projected up slightly to 900,000 MT) should both set new records.

In Japan, broiler meat makes up most of the poultry meat produced, as very few other poultry animals are produced there. Japan’s 2015 total domestic broiler production is projected to exceed the 2014 record high, reaching a total slaughter of 651 million broilers at an average live weight of 2.95 kg. per broiler.

Competition for imports

Raw broiler imports from Thailand resumed in 2014 after the country resolved avian influenza concerns, and continued to pick up steam in 2015, displacing a significant volume of prepared poultry product imports as well as some raw broiler imports from Brazil.

Though Brazil remains the dominant supplier to the Japanese market with an imposing 77 percent market share (down seven percentage points from 2014), Thailand’s market share is projected to reach 17 percent in 2015 (up 10 percentage points from 2014) as Japanese importers look to diversify their supply sources and shorten delivery times.

As imports of raw broiler meat from Brazil are expected to fall only slightly in 2015 (to 390,000 MT), much of the growth in imports from Thailand so far have come at the expense of reduced imports of prepared products (mostly from China).

The report says industry sources expect that imports from Brazil will remain at relatively high levels through the third quarter of 2015, due to earlier contracts, but slacken afterwards in the face of competition from Thai raw broiler cuts and of rising monthly ending stocks.

The expansion of imports from Thailand is expected to continue through 2016.

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