Global chicken prices have been trending higher year-on-year (y-o-y) in line with tight supplies due to Avian Influenza (AI). The economic downturn due to the COVID-19 crisis has led consumers to shift their demand towards the most affordable animal protein - chicken.
EU chicken price reached EUR 1.97/kg in March 2021, up 6% y-o-y and 3% m-o-m, with a rise in retail sales and foodservice demand. High feed ingredients and shipping costs have been providing further bullish impetus to prices.
US chicken prices also firmed up to USD 2.02/kg, up 33% y-o-y and 13% m-o-m during the reported period, driven by robust retail demand and high feed prices. Unlike other meat categories, foodservice demand for chicken is likely to remain firm in the short term, as it is cheaper in value than other meats. Additionally, improving US-China trade relations are projected to support US chicken exports and prices.
Thailand has always been one of the largest chicken suppliers to Asia and cooked chicken to the EU and the UK. In some Asian markets such as South Korea and Japan, AI has resulted in the mass culling of poultry birds, thus increasing their reliance on Thai chicken imports. Also, Thai cooked chicken mainly goes as an ingredient in processed, frozen and value-added products. During the pandemic, consumers have been engaged in more home cooking, which has triggered the demand for chicken burgers, nuggets, and kebabs. Consequently, the increase in home cooking demand led Thai chicken prices to reach TBH 48/kg in March.
The key watch-out factors in the chicken market for the next three months would be the outbreak of AI in the top chicken importing countries, particularly Asia, and the continued spread of COVID-19 across the globe.