The global meat market in 2011 continues to be characterized by drought and disease-depleted animal inventories in many countries as well as constrained sector profitability in others, as input prices remain particularly high.

 Limping upwards, global meat output is set to rise by only 1 percent, half the previous year output gains, to 295 million tonnes.  More than threequarters of the year-to-year growth will originate in Brazil and China, the suppliers of nearly 40 percent of global output.  High production costs  are dampening growth in the  pig meat sector.

Notwithstanding the imposition of trade barriers, vigorous import demand especially from Asian countries and in the Russian Federation is expected to lift trade in meat products by nearly 4 percent to 27.4 million tonnes, with the increases most pronounced for pig and poultry meat.

In April 2011, the FAO meat price index rose to a record 180 points, the highest level registered in the more than 20 years the price index series has existed. Since April, prices have eased somewhat, as reflected in the FAO meat price index, which slipped 3 points  by October 2011. Meat prices remain persistently high. In JanuaryOctober they averaged 17 percent more in 2011 than in 2010 .

While high prices and sluggish economic growth have constrained global per capita meat consumption to an average 42 kg per capita, relatively low prices have accelerated the shift of consumers towards poultry, mainly at the expense of beef. 

Tomorrow we will publish the Food Outlook for the pig sector

Sources: FAO: Food Outlook. November 2011.

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