Global meat production is set to fall by 6% this year, but a decline in consumption is predicted to keep supply and demand closely matched.

Falling pork production in the US, EU and Brazil, and lower supplies of sheepmeat coming out of Oceania, have contributed to the projected drop, Gira consultant Richard Brown told a Bpex/Eblex conference last week.

But the recession meant balance would be maintained, he added. "Meat demand has been robust but we're seeing a downturn for 2009. It's extremely lucky that production decline coincides with demand decline," he said.

Several major international meat producers had seen share prices nosedive, said Brown. This would lead to a temporary halt in industry development and M&A activity, he added.

Brown warned that meat prices would remain high in the medium term.