Brazil to ben­e­fit from bird flu plague

The Star Early Edition - - BUSINESS REPORT - Bloomberg

THE BIRD flu out­break sweep­ing across Asia and Europe means you may soon be eat­ing more Brazil­ian chicken.

The world’s top ex­porter has been un­touched by the highly con­ta­gious virus that led to wide­spread culling of birds – more than 30 mil­lion in South Korea alone. Af­ter some key im­port­ing na­tions banned poul­try from in­fected coun­tries, Brazil is ex­pected to see fur­ther de­mand for its prod­ucts.

The avian in­fluenza out­break is also good news for other virus-free na­tions that can fill the sup­ply gap, such as the US, which is the sec­ond-big­gest ex­porter and mostly evaded con­tam­i­na­tion since cases es­ca­lated in Oc­to­ber. Be­cause mi­grat­ing wild birds carry the dis­ease, there’s a risk that it will keep spread­ing, So­ciété Générale said in a re­port ear­lier this month.

“The global sit­u­a­tion has wors­ened since mid-De­cem­ber,” said Nan-Dirk Mul­der, an an­a­lyst at Rabobank In­ter­na­tional in Utrecht, Nether­lands. “Coun­tries like Brazil and the US will in­deed cap­ture mar­ket share from EU in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.”

Over­took US

Even with­out the cur­rent cri­sis, Brazil’s chicken ex­ports will climb as much as 5 per­cent to 4.6 mil­lion tons this year, ac­cord­ing to the Brazil An­i­mal Pro­tein As­so­ci­a­tion. The coun­try has never been hit by bird flu and over­took the US as the top poul­try ship­per a decade ago.

De­mand may rise from na­tions that banned im­ports or culled birds to con­tain the virus, such as China and parts of the EU, which are among Brazil’s key cus­tomers. Euro­pean na­tions killed more than 1.5 mil­lion poul­try since Oc­to­ber 19 and the fig­ure may more than dou­ble, the World Or­gan­i­sa­tion for An­i­mal Health, said this month.

In an ef­fort to con­tain the dis­ease, France last week widened its or­der to cull birds in the south-west.

About half the cases of the highly path­o­genic H5N8 strain found across Europe since Oc­to­ber were in poul­try and the rest in wild birds.

Poul­try ex­ports from EU, the largest ex­porter af­ter Brazil and the US, to­talled €1.4 bil­lion (R20.10bn) in the first nine months of 2016, Rabobank said. – Bloomberg

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