By Garra - 09/05/2024 in Chicken

Growth in poultry imports from the United Arab Emirates this year to benefit Brazil

The United Arab Emirates has been expanding its chicken meat production, with a projected 7% increase in volumes in 2024. However, local production still accounts for less than 15% of the total consumption in the seven Emirates comprising the country. Therefore, chicken imports into the market are also expected to increase this year, by 2.67%, says the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

According to the projections, poultry imports into the Emirates are set to reach a new record in 2024, totaling 385 thousand tons. This is a market dominated by Brazil, whose share has increased by about 15% over the last 10 years. In 2024, Brazil is expected to account for 82.6% of the forecasted volume, meaning it will export close to 320 thousand tons of the product, says the USDA. The projection does not include exports of chicken feet/paws, so official Brazilian numbers are usually higher than those indicated by the institution.

The USDA also notes that, while U.S. exports to the Emirates have been increasing, the country continues to lose market share to Brazil. This is attributed to the type of packaging, product type, and consequently, price. The product exported by the U.S. is primarily represented by leg quarters packaged in bigger bags. Thus, they cater mainly to large consumers such as processing industries. On the other hand, the product exported by Brazil, which is more diversified, comes in smaller packaging, catering to multiple channels.

Due to its restriction mainly to dark meat, the American product is cheaper than the Brazilian one, but its demand depends on the price relationship between the two. Therefore, when the price of leg quarters reaches 75% of the average price of the Brazilian product, demand for the American product decreases, as explained by the USDA.

The USDA also refers to a fourth factor favoring Brazil’s dominance in that market: the significant presence of Brazilian companies in the United Arab Emirates.

In March, the United Arab Emirates led Brazil’s chicken exports, according to the Brazilian Animal Protein Association (ABPA). The shipments totaled 40.7 thousand tons, a volume 16.2% higher than that recorded in the same period of 2023. China followed with 38.9 thousand tons (-48.9%) and Saudi Arabia with 35 thousand tons (+3.9%).

“We have seen Middle Eastern countries gaining even more prominence in recent months, with substantial purchases of chicken meat,” said ABPA markets director Luís Rua.

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