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November 21, 2008
 
Thai Broiler Weekly: Chicken prices up amid confusion over bird flu report (week ended Nov 20, 2008)           
 
An eFeedLink Exclusive
 

Price summary
 
Broiler prices rose during the week even as livestock department officials tried to repair the damage last week's reported bird flu outbreak had on Thailand's chances of being allowed to export frozen chicken again.
 
The farm price of live chicken has jumped to THB37-38/kg from last week's THB34-35/kg, while chicken meat prices went up by THB6-9/kg in Bangkok.
 
Heavy rains in the provinces, traders say, have disrupted chicken supply to the capital, creating an artificial shortage that has boosted prices.
 
 
Market analysis
 
Livestock development department officials, meanwhile, tried to deny there had been any bird flu outbreak in the country these past few weeks. Trisadee Chaosuanchareon, the department's deputy director-general, has told the media there was no bird flu in Thailand even as he announced livestock officials were in a high state of alert against the possibility of an outbreak because of the cold weather sweeping the country.

But no less than the department itself announced last week of a bird flu incident in the Nong Chang district in Sukothai, 430 km northeast of Bangkok.
 
The bird flu attack was discovered after five chickens at a farm got sick and died at the end of last month. The department had said that lab tests showed the chickens were infected with the H5N1 virus. The department had even ordered a massive culling of chickens around the area. 
 
A confirmed bird flu outbreak could jeopardize the country's chances of resuming frozen chicken export anytime soon. In April this year, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) declared bird flu-free. Under OIE regulations, a country could be allowed export of fresh chicken six months after it had been declared free of the disease.
 
Should there be no confirmed bird flu case this month, Thailand could ask the OIE to be allowed to resume export of fresh broiler. Thailand has been banned from exporting fresh or frozen chicken since the 2004 Asian bird flu epidemic. It is only allowed to export cooked poultry meat. Local chicken exporters and processors have always wanted to resume fresh chicken export to expand their market.
 
More than ever, they need it now following projections that processed chicken export next year could drop by about 5 percent because of an economic slowdown in key importing countries like Japan and Europe.
 
Dr. Anan Sirimongkolkasem, president of the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, said that exports of cooked chicken are estimated at 350,000 tonnes and chicken meat at 10,000 tonnes in 2009 with combined value of THB44 billion, down about 5 per cent from this year.
 

Markets

Prices
for whole dressed chicken

as of 
Nov 13
(in Thai baht/kg)

Prices
for whole dressed chicken

as of  Nov 20
(in Thai baht/kg)

Changes
(in Thai baht/kg)

Supermarkets (Bangkok)

64-66

70-75

6 - 9

Public markets (Bangkok)

58-60

64-66

6

Public markets (Suburbs)

55-58

58-60

2 - 3

Farm gate 

34-35 (liveweight)

37-38 (liveweight)

3

US$1=THB 35.250 (Nov 21)


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