September 5, 2003



Thailand is Major Exporter of Chicken to South Korea in 1st Half 2003  


For the first time, the United States relinquished its role as the leading supplier of chicken meat to South Korea in the first half of 2003. Although Thailand is expected to remain a major supplier in 2003, U.S. market share is expected to recover to 50 percent of Korea's imports by the end of 2003. Although growth in demand for chicken meat has been dampened by the Korean economic situation, U.S. chicken meat suppliers are expected to maintain a strong share of the 97,000 MT market in 2004.


In 2004, broiler production and imports of chicken cuts are expected to increase marginally from 2003 levels based upon the assumption that the domestic economic situation will not worsen. Moreover, efforts made by the government and industry association to support market prices in 2003 are expected to support broiler production.


In 2004, Korea's market for imported chicken is expected to continue to have strong competition between the U.S. and Thailand. According to traders, there are three factors that can determine the imported chicken market; domestic consumption, import prices (along with the extent of processing), and poultry disease. If domestic consumption revives in 2004, it will generate more imports as imported chicken meat is usually used at restaurants whose sales are vulnerable to the economic situation. Price and extent of processing are the key factors influencing importers business decisions rather than origin of products.

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