No One Buys More Chicken from Brazil than the Middle East

Brazilian chicken meat exports to the Arab countries should go on rising in 2005. Last year, the Middle East remained as the main market in terms of volume, with 750,000 tons. The increase was 22% when compared to 2003.

“It is a very important market for Brazil, surpassed only (in terms of revenues) by Asia,” stated Julio Cardoso, president of the Brazilian Poultry Exporters Association (Abef).


According to Cardoso, the Arab countries are a stable market and Brazil has a very strong position in the region. Exports to the Middle East generated US$ 672.5 million in 2004, an increase of 33% when compared to the previous year.


To Asia, exports totalled US$ 746.5 million in 2004. The region exceeded the Middle East in terms of revenues, but not in volume. The Asians purchased 628,000 tons of chicken meat from Brazil. In 2003, the Middle East led the purchases in volume and revenues.


For statistics purposes, the Abef includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iraq, Oman and Jordan as well as Iran, Israel, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Uzbekistan in the Middle East.


In terms of volume, Saudi Arabia was the main importer of poultry last year. The country purchased 332,610 tons of the product, which means US$ 318.5 million. In terms of revenues, however, Saudi purchases lost to those by Japan, which imported US$ 509.4 million in 2004.


Among the Arab countries, the United Arab Emirates were the second largest buyer of the Brazilian product last year. In all, they imported US$ 110.25 million and 120,530 tons.


Then came Kuwait, with purchases of US$ 83.9 million and 100,650 tons. Then comes Yemen, with US$ 55.53 million, Oman, with US$ 28.3 million and Qatar, which imported US$ 24.66 million in 2004.


Greater Exports


In all, Brazilian chicken meat exports generated US$ 2.6 billion last year, which represented a 44% increase with regard to 2003.


In terms of volume, a total of 2.47 million tons of the product were shipped between January and December 2004, a 26% increase with regard to the same period in 2003.


“We reached a record volume and had fantastic growth,” stated Cardoso.


The results announced by the Abef exceeded the sector forecasts for 2004, which had been 10% at the beginning of the year.


“We had a spectacular year,” stated Cardoso.


According to the president of the organization, one of the main reasons for the increase in the sales volume was the sale of chicken in pieces, which has a greater added value.


Revenues with sales of the product reached US$ 1.7 billion last year, an increase of 55% with regard to 2003.


Last year chicken meat was the second most exported product in the Brazilian agribusiness trade basket, and the sixth in general terms.


“The country is in a strategic position. First place in the world exports,” stated Cardoso, who added that the sector is trying to reach US$ 3 billion with exports of chicken meat.


However, the Abef president believes that the profitability of the sector in 2005 may be affected by the greater value of the Brazilian currency against the dollar.


“If the exchange rate continues rising the way it is, we are going to lose our appetite and the situation may become worse,” stated Cardoso. He forecasts lower chicken export growth this year.


On the other hand, Cardoso believes that the domestic consumption should rise and that new markets should be opened in 2005, among them China, Korea, Malaysia, Chile and Mexico.


“We are a strong sector and have been structuring ourselves very much. There has been growth of Ministry of Agriculture investment in sanitary inspection,” he finished off.


ANBA ”“ Brazil-Arab News Agency

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