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Rebound in EU broiler production and consumption forecast

EU broiler production looks set to rebound in 2007, in spite of an expected four per cent decrease in production in 2006 compared to last year, according to a new report.

This year's downturn is blamed primarily in outbreaks of avian influenza (AI), but the end of the ban on French poultry exports, as well as some easing of the international AI impact on poultry consumption, are expected to allow EU chicken exports to partially recover over the rest of 2006.

The US Department of Agriculture's GAIN analysis unit reports that consumption is forecast to decrease by 1.3 percent overall in 2006, but with significant regional differences between the south and the north of Europe.

In Greece and Italy, temporary consumption decreases of 90 and 70 percent respectively were reported. In contrast, consumption in the UK and some of the new member states increased, perhaps because of cheap poultry prices.

As at April 2006, the EU had built up commercial poultry stocks amounting to 300,000 metric tonnes, as a result of lower demand due to consumer fears about AI.

Chicken production started to decrease in Greece and Italy, as AI outbreaks in Romania, Turkey, and subsequently Greece, were turning consumers away from poultry consumption.

The situation also forced producers in other EU countries to reduce chicken production, especially in places that are highly export oriented, such as the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark.

The report's analysts expect EU chicken exports to decrease significantly during 2006, as a result of decreased demand in world markets because of the AI crisis and a glut of cheap poultry from Brazil and the US.

Editor WorldPoultry

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