COVID-19 outbreak in Thailand to hit poultry consumption in China: traders
Published: Jul 30, 2021 05:08 PM
Chicken Photo: VCG

Chicken Photo: VCG

The COVID-19 infections in Thai chicken processing plants have disrupted the export of chicken to China and led to a spike in prices, several Chinese importers told the Global Times on Friday after the largest chicken processing plant in Thailand was shut down due to the pandemic.

This comes after new infection clusters were found in a chicken processing factory in Thailand this week with over 3,000 employees testing positive for the virus, the Bangkok Post reported. 

If infection rates and the emergence of more COVID-19 clusters in Thai chicken processing plants continue until mid-August, there may be a shortage of some products, while the export sector is set to deal with unwanted disruption, the Federation of Thai Industries warned on Thursday.

The outbreak in chicken processing factories has hit the export of Thai chicken products to China, several traders told the Global Times on Friday.

"Many factories in Thailand have paused operations and we have been unable to access new products since June," an employee with Foshan Sannong Food Co told the Global Times on Friday.

Due to the supply shortage the prices have spiked by $500 a ton, a Guangzhou based trader surnamed Lin told the Global Times on Friday. 

However he noted there is still enough stock on the market due to the declined domestic consumption demand for imported chicken meat.

"Due to the recent COVID-19 clusters in China the regulation department has tightened supervision and inspection on import meat and increased the level of disinfection processes. Many restaurants are unwilling to use imported chicken meat," Lin said.

"We still have some inventory for the quarterly orders, however, there is no new source of supply," he said.

According to the latest statistics of the Broiler Processing Exporters Association, China's imports of Thai chicken soared by 82 percent last year. Public data show that China's import volume has increased significantly every year since China resumed imports of frozen chicken meat from Thailand again in March 2018.

In 2019, China imported 65,420 tons of chicken products from Thailand, with a value of more than 5.6 billion THB ($170 million), an increase of 252 percent year-on-year from 2018. 

At present, China has become the second largest export market of Thai frozen chicken products after Japan. Thailand is also the fourth largest import source of frozen chicken products in China, and the number of qualified Thai chicken importers to China has increased from to 43 from 7 in 2018.