NAB’s General Manager of Agribusiness, Khan Horne, said the pork and poultry industries are enjoying solid conditions.
“The poultry industry has maintained its position as Australia’s meat of choice. This is being driven by a number of factors including consumer demand for the low fat, high protein content of chicken meat, along with its versatility and price relative to other meats”, Mr Horne said.
Per capita poultry consumption is estimated to reach 45.2 kgs in 2011-12. While down on 2010-11 levels, it’s well above 38kgs recorded in 2009-10 and is expected to continue to grow to 45.5 kgs in 2012-13.
“We’re seeing poultry farmers increase production to meet this rising demand, despite some farmers experiencing a rise in processing costs and concerns around the potential for grain prices to increase,” Mr Horne said.
Real consumer prices for poultry have fallen 1.9 per cent a year on average over the last decade, according to ABS CPI data.
“In the medium term we’re likely to see a fall in consumer prices as domestic production increases,” Mr Horne said.
“For the Australian pork industry we’re seeing a return to strength following a significant restructure in recent years. In 2011-12 per capita consumption is forecast to increase to 24.8 kgs, slightly down on records but none-the-less stable and set to incrementally increase.”
In the past ten years to 2010-11, imports as a proportion of domestic consumption have grown from 15 per cent to 48 per cent.
“The key challenge facing our pork industry over the years has been the increase in competition from imports, which led to a decline in Australian production,” Mr Horne said.
In 2011 the industry bucked this downward trend with Australian pork production increasing 1.7 per cent increase, with further increases expected in 2012.
“With an increase in demand we’re seeing an increase in production. Australian pig farmers are also now predominantly focussed on the fresh pork market, where importers face greater restrictions,” Mr Horne said.
”Looking ahead we expect both pork and poultry to maintain their competitiveness within the domestic meat market with a firm medium term outlook.”
Across other commodities global prices continued their downward trend and the NAB Rural Commodities Index fell 4.6 per cent in USD terms in May. The AUD played a buffering role and the index fell 3.2 per cent in AUD terms. The index is now back to levels consistent with levels in 2010, just prior to the run up in global commodity prices, but still sits around 10 per cent above its long run average in AUD terms.