The Covid-19 crisis drove down Thai exports of processed, refrigerated and frozen chicken in 2020 to 945,000 tonnes worth Bt105 billion, from 950,000 tonnes worth Bt111.5 billion in 2019, said the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association on Friday.
“The outbreak resulted in lockdowns in Japan and the European Union, which are Thailand’s biggest markets,” said association head Kukrit Areepakorn.
“The situation was especially bad in Japan, since they called off the 2020 Olympic Games, meaning they cancelled orders of chicken from us that were expected to feed participants and tourists.”
Kukrit added that in the past year Thai chicken exporters had to increase shipment volumes to secondary markets such as China (up 82 per cent) and Singapore (up 59 per cent).
“The association forecasts chicken exports this year will rise 1 per cent to Bt106 billion from 950,000 tonnes, mostly due to the availability of Covid-19 vaccines in several countries,” said Kukrit.
“Meanwhile, after Brexit the United Kingdom will halve its import tariffs for Thai chicken outside the normal quota, while the recovering economy in China will also push up demand for Thai chicken.”
Among negative factors that could hit exports this year are a new wave of Covid-19, the shipping container shortage, increased freight fees and a strengthening baht, said the association.
“Moreover, shrinking demand during the outbreak has also lowered the price of Thai chicken in EU markets, from an average US$2,000 per tonne in 2020 to only $1,300-$1,500 per tonne in January,” added Kukrit.