Struggling with high feed prices and stagnating consumption, global meat production in 2012 is forecast to grow by less than 2 percent to 302 million tonnes. As falling industry profitability has translated into modest output gains in the developed countries, most of the world expansion is likely to take place in the developing countries, which now account for 60 percent of world output. Virtually all of the sector growth in 2012 is forecast to stem from the feeddependent poultry and pigmeat sectors, as gains in both bovine and sheep meat outputs are anticipated to be modest.
Concerns about the profitability of the meat sector have been compounded by a weakening of the growth of export markets, with trade expansion anticipated to slow down to 2 percent from 8 percent in 2011. Global meat exports are expected to edge up by about 600 000 tonnes to 29.4 million tonnes in 2012, mainly sustained by increased poultry and pig meat flows and with much of the market expansion likely to be captured by developing countries, in particular Brazil and India.
Escalating feed prices and slowing meat production growth have pushed up international meat prices in late 2012, to levels approaching the highs attained in 2011. Accordingly, the FAO meat price index, which has jumped by 5 percent since July 2012, averaged 174 points between January and October, which compares with 176 for the same period last year. Most of the recent increase in the meat price index reflect price gains for poultry and pigmeat, which have soared by 9 percent and 12 percent respectively since July.
November 2012/ FAO Food Outlook.