Unlike 2010 and 2011, the Thai broiler industry is encountering pressure from a significant reduction in prices for products across the board as well as higher production costs.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: TH7093
Poultry and Products Annual
Rey S. Santella, Agricultural Attaché
Sakchai Preechajarn, Agricultural Specialist
Unlike 2010 and 2011, the Thai broiler industry is encountering pressure from a significant reduction in
prices for products across the board as well as higher production costs derived from escalating world
prices for main feed ingredients, i.e. soybean meal and corn. A decline in prices for live broiler and
chicken meat in 2012 is attributed to a supply glut derived from increasing broiler production. Broiler
production in 2013 is forecast to drop 6 percent, in contrast to a high growth of 15 percent in 2012.
Thailand’s broiler meat production in 2012 is estimated to grow sharply by 15 percent to 1.55 MMT
from 1.35 MMT. Meanwhile, the Thai broiler industry is encountering pressure from a significant
reduction in prices for products across the board as well as higher production costs derived from
escalating world prices for main feed ingredients, i.e. soybean meal and corn. Consequently, most of
the Thai broiler processors are likely to scale down their broiler meat production in the last quarter of
2012 and most of 2013. This will likely reduce broiler meat production by 6 percent to 1.45 MMT in
Skyrocketing prices for feed ingredients have severely affected production costs among broiler
integrators in the second half of 2012. However, the impact of higher feed prices was offset sharply by
reduced chick prices for the first half of 2012. As a result, average live broiler production costs in the
first 7 months (Jan-July) in 2012 mirrored those during the same period of 2011. Integrated broiler
processors are worried that the drought in the U.S. may further push feed prices higher for the remainder
Domestic consumption of broiler meat continues to grow primarily because quick service restaurants
(QSR) and ready-to-eat markets have expanded and chicken meat is less expensive than other meats.
Thailand’s broiler meat exports are estimated to grow 15 percent to 540,000 metric tons in 2012 and
grow another 7 percent in 2013 mainly because the EU and several other countries lifted their bans on
imported Thai uncooked chicken meat products. A supply glut in 2012 forced Thai packers to reduce
their export prices, especially in the EU market.
Poultry, Meat, Broiler
2011 2012 2013
M ark et Year Begin: J an 2011 M ark et Year Begin: J an 2012 Mark et Year Begin: Jan
U SD A Of f ic ia l N ew Pos t U SD A Of f ic ia l N ew Pos t U SD A Of f ic ia l N ew Pos t
Inventory (Reference) 0 0 0 0 0
Slaughter (Reference) 0 0 0 0 0
Beginning Stocks 32 32 52 52 133
Production 1,350 1,350 1,420 1,550 1,450
Total Imports 1 1 1 1 1
Total Supply 1,383 1,383 1,473 1,603 1,584
Total Exports 467 467 500 540 580
Human Consumption 854 854 891 920 950
Other Use, Losses 10 10 10 10 10
Total Dom. Consumption 864 864 901 930 960
Total Use 1,331 1,331 1,401 1,470 1,540
Ending Stocks 52 52 72 133 44
Total Distribution 1,383 1,383 1,473 1,603 1,584
CY Imp. from U.S. 0 0
CY Exp. to U.S. 0 0
Balance 0 0 0 0 0
Inventory Balance 20 20 20 81 -89
Production Change 5 5 5 15 -6
Import Change 0 0 0 0 0
Export Change 8 8 7 16 7
Table 1: Production, Supply and Demand for Broiler Meat in Thailand
Consumption Change 3 3 4 8 3
Imports Percent Consumption 0 0 0 0 0
Exports Percent Production 35 35 35 35 40
Population 67,521,452 66,720,153 67,940,140 67,091,089 67,448,120
Per Capita Consumption 13 13
TS=TD 0 0 0
The ongoing expansion of broiler production capacity in 2011 and early 2012 as well as fewer incidents
of disease-caused damages have led to an increase in broiler meat production. In 2012, broiler meat
production is estimated to grow sharply by 15 percent to 1.55 MMT from 1.35 MMT.
While nearly all 24 chick producers (both integrated broiler producers and independent chick
producers) expanded their chick production in the past couple of years, trade sources point out that the
Saha Farm Group is the most aggressive integrated broiler producer in Thailand. The Saha Group has
more than doubled its chick production from 2.5 million birds/week in early 2011 to 5.4 million
birds/week. In the meantime, each of the other top five integrated operations, including Charoen
Pokphand Group, Betagro Group, Sunvalley, GFPT, and Laemthong, have increased their chick
production by 300,000-500,000 birds/week respectively.
The Thai broiler industry is encountering pressure from a significant reduction in prices for products
across the board as well as higher production costs derived from escalating world prices for main feed
ingredients, i.e. soybean meal and corn. It is anticipated that most of the broiler processors will scale
down their broiler meat production in the last quarter of 2012 and most of 2013. As a result, broiler
meat production in 2013 is forecast to decline by 6 percent to 1.45 MMT.
Trade sources estimate that total chick production capacity in Thailand increased from 23-25 million
birds per week in 2011 to 27-28 million birds in 2012. Actual chick production was about 22 million
birds/week in 2011, increasing to 24-25 million in early 2012, and is currently at 26 million birds/week.
Integrated chicken producers have not only expanded their poultry and breeding facilities, but also
enlarged their processing facilities. The current processing capacity of the Thai chicken industry totals
3.85 million birds/day, up from 3.10 million birds/day in 2011. Integrated farms have invested in
improving fully cooked meat processing facilities to meet the demands of the sophisticated markets in
Japan and the EU for cooked broiler meat.
The Thai broiler industry has improved farming systems to mitigate animal health and food safety
challenges such as the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). In 2004, a HPAI outbreak caused
considerable damage to the Thai broiler industry. Today, all integrated producers are implementing
strict bio-security measures from the farm to the processing level. Nearly all broiler houses of
integrated producers are equipped with evaporative cooling systems which reduce disease exposure and
mortality rates. These cooling systems have been instrumental in preventing HPAI incidents.
Skyrocketing prices for feed ingredients in recent months have severely affected production costs
among broiler integrators. For example, prices for soybean meal escalated by 50 percent from 14
baht/kg in January 2012 to 21 baht/kg in August while corn prices jumped by 33 percent during the
same period from about 10 baht/kg to 11-12 baht/kg. Integrated broiler processors are worried that a
drought in the U.S. may further push feed prices upward for the remainder of 2012.
Despite higher feed prices, the cost of chicks in 2012 dropped significantly from an average of 16-18
baht/bird in 2011 to 6-13 baht/bird in 2012 because of a supply glut. It is rumored that lower chick
prices have encouraged some integrators to reduce their own chick production and increase the purchase
of chicks from independent chick producers.
Average live broiler production costs in the first 7 months (Jan-July) of 2012 were 36-38 baht/kg which
are similar to those in the same period of 2011. Average prices for live broiler, however, dropped
sharply by 28 percent from average 48.77 baht/kg in 2011 (Jan-Jul) to 34.90 baht/kg in the same period
of 2012. Broiler producers are likely to face increased losses for the remainder of the year due to
soaring feed prices.
It is too early to estimate live broiler production costs for 2013. However, due to an expected decrease
in broiler production, the Thai broiler industry is anticipated to become profitable again.
Table 2: Wholesale Prices for Feed Ingredients
In 2012, domestic consumption is estimated to grow 8 percent over the 2011 level due to lower retail
prices for chicken meat and ongoing expansion of QSR and ready-to-eat markets in Bangkok and other
main cities. Average retail prices for chicken boneless breast meat in Bangkok in 2012 (Jan-Aug)
decreased by 18 percent to 71.40 baht/kg ($1.03/pound) compared to the same period in 2011.
Anticipated higher chicken meat prices will limit the growth of domestic consumption in 2013 to only 3
percent. However, per capita consumption of chicken meat intake should continue to grow from 13.7
kg/person/year in 2012 to 14.1 kg/person/year in 2013. In addition, an increase in domestic
consumption should be partly attributed to efforts that promote new ready-to-eat chicken menus in the
domestic market by quick service restaurants (QSR) and food processors. This ready-to-eat market
should grow 10-15 percent annually in the next five years.
Table 3: Bangkok Wholesale Live Broiler Prices and Retail Chicken Meat Prices
In the first half of 2012, chicken meat exports (both cooked and uncooked) increased significantly by 21
percent to 263,184 metric tons compared to the same period in 2011. The value of exports also grew by
18 percent. Trade sources reported that export prices for Thai chicken meat across the board declined.
Poultry meat exports for the first half of 2012 totaled 222,250 metric tons. Cooked chicken meat
products accounted for 84 percent of exports, an increase of 11 percent from the same period in 2011.
Uncooked chicken exports totaled 40,934 metric tons or 16 percent of all exports; more than double the
previous year. This trend indicates that Thailand is on its way to reclaiming its status as a major
supplier of uncooked broiler, particularly since several countries lifted their bans on imported uncooked
chicken products from Thailand.
By destination, exports (in quantity) to the EU, Japan and others all increased in the first half of 2012.
Exports to the EU grew 7 percent, Japan 14 percent, and others 79 percent. The rapid growth in exports
to other countries besides the EU and Japan, indicate that Thailand has successfully diversified its
Based on the export performance of the first half of 2012 and the fact that the EU lifted its ban on Thai
uncooked broiler meat as of July 2012, total chicken meat exports are expected to reach 540,000 metric
tons, up 15 percent from the 2011 level. Thailand is expected to export 40,000-50,000 metric tons of
uncooked products to the EU in the second half of 2012, thus, increasing total exports of uncooked
products to 100,000-110,000 metric tons. The remaining exports (430,000-440,000 metric tons) consist
of cooked products.
Despite the outlook of a decline in broiler meat production in 2013, Thailand’s broiler meat exports
should grow another 7 percent to 580,000 metric tons. Most of the growth is expected to take place in
markets other than the EU and Japan, including ASEAN countries, Hong Kong, South Korea, UAE, and
South Africa. The EU and Japan, however, will remain Thailand’s major markets accounting for about
75-80 percent of total exports. Thailand could dramatically increase its exports of uncooked chicken
meat if Japan and South Korea lift their bans on the import of uncooked Thai broiler meat. Countries
that have already lifted their HPAI bans on Thai uncooked frozen chicken meat include the EU, Hong
Kong, South Africa, Bahrain, and Russia.
Export Prices and Products
Trade sources reported that overall export prices for nearly all cooked chicken products appeared to
decline in 2012 mainly because of accumulating stocks in Thailand as well as an economic turmoil in
the EU that has led to sluggish demand for Thai chicken meat.
Export prices for steamed dice-shape-cut skinless boneless breast (SBB), a major item exported to the
EU, reportedly dropped from $5,000-5,100/metric ton CIF in mid 2011 to $4,200-4,300/metric ton CIF.
On the other hand, export prices for fried cut boneless leg, one of the basic cooked products for the
Japanese market, remained strong, ranging from $4,800-5,200/metric ton CIF. Typical export prices for
uncooked boneless breast meat shipped to the EU is currently about $2,800/metric ton CIF.
The bulk of the chicken products used for exports consist of made-to-order products that are processed
or prepared by heat (such as grilling, steaming, and boiling) and are usually puffed or seasoned (with
salt, Japanese sauce, etc.).
The EU Quota Administration
Since the EU lifted its ban of Thai uncooked broiler meat, Thailand gained about 92,610 metric tons of
the EU’s quota for uncooked salted poultry meat and 5,100 metric tons for uncooked unsalted poultry
meat. The in-quota tariff rate is 15.4 percent while the out-of-quota rate will be 1,300 €/ton (GAIN
The EU quota for cooked chicken meat from Thailand (EU HS code 16023219) is 160,033 metric tons,
out of a total quota of 250,953 metric tons. In-quota imports from Thailand are subject to an 8 percent
tariff. The out-of-quota rate for cooked chicken meat is 1,024 €/ton. Since 2008, Thailand has used all
of its cooked chicken meat quota.
Thailand’s request to the EU to increase the prevailing quota for cooked chicken meat products is still
pending. Nonetheless, Thai exporters have wisely found a way to also export chicken meat products
that are not subject to the EU tariff-rate-quota regime. For example, cooked chicken products that
contain 57 percent chicken meat or less are subject to a tariff of 10.9 percent which is much lower than
the out-of-quota rate of 1,024 €/ton. Thai exports of this chicken category are expected to reach 30,000
metric tons in 2012.
In 2009, the EU announced its intention to raise tariff rates on additional 8 poultry meat products
including uncooked chicken meat products containing more than 57 percent chicken meat, cooked
chicken meat products containing 25-57 percent chicken meat, and cooked chicken meat products
containing less than 25 percent chicken meat. In response to this initiative, the Thai Department of
Trade Negotiations in the Ministry of Commerce requested that instead of raising tariff rates, the EU
should set an import quota for these products. Trade sources stated that the EU is likely to adopt the
suggested quota system for these products by the end of 2012.
Thailand is moving forward to negotiate a Free Trade Area with the EU. However, the negotiation is
still in the beginning stages. It is anticipated that Thailand will raise the issue of broiler meat exports to
the EU as a subject in negotiating agricultural market access.
Thailand is accumulating higher stocks due to its supply glut from increased production. Year-end
carryover stocks of broiler meat are forecast to increase from the estimated 52,000 metric tons in 2011
to 133,000 metric tons in 2012. Stocks are likely to fall to 44,000 metric tons in 2013.
Thailand’s poultry industry policy has not changed from the last report. Thailand does not have price
supports or export subsidy programs for poultry. After the HPAI outbreak in 2004, the Royal Thai
Government (RTG) launched several measures to support the poultry industry, including HPAI
Stamping-Out Campaign on poultry farms/areas and a compensation scheme for disease-affected
farmers. There have been no cases of HPAI in Thailand for more than 3 years (OIE standards for being
free of HPAI).
Thailand protects its poultry market through the Royal Thai Government (RTG)’s use of non-
transparent control import permits (potential importers are unable to get them issued), high WTO bound
rates of import tariffs (currently 30 percent for chilled or frozen uncooked meat and 40 percent for
cooked chicken meat), and a discriminatory import permit fee on uncooked products (10 baht/kilogram
or approx. $339/ton).
Thailand has made a request for sanitary approval to export cooked chicken to the United States. The
last request was submitted in 2009. However, Thailand has not seriously pursued this endeavor and the
request has now been pending for many years. Thailand submitted additional information to
USDA/FSIS as requested in February 2012 and is currently under review.
Thai local consumers, like those in other Asian countries, prefer dark to white meat. Therefore, Thailand
remains a potential market for U.S. chicken parts (especially leg-quarters), mechanically deboned meat
(MDM), and value-added chicken meat. Potential buyers for chicken parts and MDM would be food
processors (sausage processors in the case of MDM) and supermarkets. Value-added chicken meat can
also be introduced to modern retail markets and the food service industry. Thailand could import bone-
in-leg chicken meat for processing in Thailand and re-export it to such markets as Japan and non-EU
countries. However, the aforementioned non-tariff barriers would need to be resolved. The paradox is
that none of the barriers exist for U.S. frozen turkey meat exports to Thailand.