Chile’s preliminary meat exports figures for 2023 show mixed results, with an increase in pork exports’ volume and a total value around 740 million USD. In addition, the latest reports from Rabobank and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) forecast a slow growth in production, significant regional reconfigurations, and changes in the trade of specific meats, outlining a scenario of resilience and adaptation in a complex economic and regulatory context.

In Chile, production and exports of turkey, chicken, and pork in 2023 showed mixed trends, with increases in some sectors and drops in others. China, South Korea, and Japan are still the primary markets for Chilean pork; and the United States, Mexico, and China for chicken and turkey.

Chilean Customs figures for 2023 show that the pork industry will export 296,000 tons of pork, a 12% increase in volume compared to 2022, and a value over 740 million USD, which represents a 15% drop from 2022 values.

Pork is still the most exported Chilean meat, representing 66% of the total volume, and 50% of the production is exported.

Chicken and turkey saw a significant reduction in exports value and volume given the avian influenza outbreaks of the first half of 2023, which resulted in a temporary halt to exports.

The total volume of chicken exported in 2023 is expected to reach 109,000 tons, a 31% increase from 2022, which represents 294 million USD, a 45% drop from the previous year. In the case of turkey, more than 16,000 tons will be exported in 2023, with a 44% drop in volume and 57% in value compared to the previous year, reaching 76 billion USD.

The president of ChileCarne, Juan Carlos Domínguez, explains that “in 2023, poultry producers had to deal not only with high production costs, but also with the impact of avian influenza, which limited exports significantly. However, the outlook for 2024 is more encouraging, thanks to the new zoning agreements that will allow for trade to continue in the event of future outbreaks and also a drop in the main production costs.”

Talking about pork, Domínguez says that “2024 should be favorable for Chilean producers after a two-year period of high production costs and a slightly lower global production, which contributes to price stabilization and should translate into higher profits for pork producers throughout the year.”

According to Rabobank’s experts, 2024 should see an ongoing demand for animal protein in spite of financial pressures and rising cost of living. A global increase in production is expected, although slower and with tight margins. This growth comes from the companies’ ability to adapt to challenges such as high prices, regulatory uncertainty, and diseases.

An improvement in some market conditions is expected for next year, such as a drop in input prices. However, structural changes will translate into additional expenses and ongoing adjustments, opening both opportunities and risks. Companies will have to adapt to these changes to stay successful, focusing on their strengths, transitions in the supply chain, and strategies adapted to a high-price environment.

Rabobank provides an outlook for the primary pork and poultry exporting markets:

  • Mexico offers slightly positive prospects for pork, while the United States should see a drop in beef production and a rise in poultry.
  • Europe will continue to see pressure on the production of all meats due to diseases and changes in production systems and regulations.
  • China should see a steady growth in poultry production, but some pressure in the pork and beef markets is expected.
  • Brazil should see all meats grow, driven by exporting opportunities.
  • Southeast Asia will experience growth thanks to the economic recovery and relief from disease.

On the other hand, the latest forecasts from the USDA show a mixed outlook for global pork and chicken production and trade in 2024. These forecasts reflect global and regional trends and are key for understanding the dynamics of these relevant agro-industrial sectors.

According to the USDA, global pork production in 2024 will remain stable at 115.5 million tons. However, this apparent balance hides significant regional changes. The European Union (EU) and China will see a drop in production, in contrast to a significant increase in Brazil, Vietnam, and the United States.

China will see a 1% drop in production due to a weak domestic demand and the significant losses of 2023. Vietnam, on the other hand, will grow its production by 5% thanks to the recovery of domestic demand and higher efficiency.

Global pork exports will grow 2%, with Brazil gaining ground in markets such as Japan and Mexico. The United Kingdom will see a 9% increase in exports thanks to lower input costs and higher pork prices.

In turn, global chicken production will grow 1% in 2024, reaching a record of 103.3 million tons. The United States, Brazil, and other mid-sized producers will be able to compensate for the drop in China. Brazil, which took over China as the world’s second largest producer in 2022 continues to strengthen its position thanks to a strong international demand and lower production costs.

Production in China will fall 3% due to a drop in both white and yellow-feathered broilers, given import restrictions because of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and the closure of live-bird markets.

Global chicken exports will go up 3%, with Brazil becoming the world’s leading exporter. In spite the global economic slowdown, demand for chicken remains strong, also benefiting countries like Turkey, the United States, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.

In summary, 2024 poses a complex and mixed scenario for the global animal protein market. Adaptation to structural changes and the ability to navigate a challenging economic and regulatory environment will be critical for businesses’ success. The Rabobank and USDA reports provide valuable insight to understand the future dynamics of this critical market.