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Unusual situation in the Romanian meat market

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Chicken meat prices are well above the most consumed meat in the country, pork.

Posted on Jan 14 ,11:12

Unusual situation in the Romanian meat market

There is a situation never seen before in the Romanian meat market: chicken meat prices are going up, while pig meat is taking a dive that threatens the swine sector, already brought to its knees by the ongoing African swine fever outbreak. According to Eurostat data, live pig prices in Romania are about RON 5 (€1.00)/kg and €150 per 100 kilos in carcass. Meantime, the average live chicken prices are RON 6 (€1.20)/kg and chicken meat carcass has reached €200/100kg.
"For 20 years I worked in promoting meat and meat industry and I never experienced such a twisted turn in prices. It is a reflection of the dramatic situation faced by the swine sector in the country. Currently, Romania imports more than 80% of the pig meat consumed domestically and the national inventory in commercial farms has dropped dramatically. From 14 million pigs prior to the ASF crisis, Romania reported at the end of last year just 2 million swine head in its farms. This is atypical for a market where pork is traditionally the main animal protein consumed", commented Eugen Capra, CEO of CARNEXPO and CARNEXPO Grill.
The difference is reflected even in retail, where fresh chicken meat (even dark meat) is clearly competing in prices with the most valuable muscle parts of pork. Inside the European Union, a few years ago, Romania stood as of the Top 10 pig producers of the block. Since 2018, however, the decline of the Romanian swine sector was visible for everyone. A combination of multiple ASF outbreaks and the authorities' lack of interest in solving this biosecurity crisis led to the current situation in the meat market. At the same time, it is worth mentioning that the EU it is facing a time of oversupply in pig meat, as Germany, due to its own ASF crisis, has lost access to some of the most lucrative markets in the world: China, the Philippines, Japan, South Korea. More than 350,000 tonnes of pork have been pushed from Germany to EU member states confronted with huge deficit of pork, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Poland. At the same time, another ASF outbreak reported recently in Italy can create a vertigo effect in the EU pork market, dropping prices to levels never seen in the last decades.
Meantime, a constant pressure of Avian Influenza cases reported for the last few years in the EU poultry sector has increased prices for chicken, turkey and duck meat. From 2020 until now, Poland, the most important poultry producer in the EU had more than 400 bird flu outbreaks, France reported 150 outbreaks only this winter, Spain is also threatened by the spreading disease, while Italy culled almost 4 million birds in farms in November-December last year. From this perspective, a rise in poultry prices is not a surprise for anyone. So far, the Romanian poultry sector wasn't hit hard by bird flu spread all over the continent bi migratory birds and that may partially explain the price increase. "To be fair, I think that Romanian authorities may start to worry about the country's food self-sufficiency, especially in the animal protein sector," Mr. Capra concluded.

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