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China’s poultry and egg prices falter amid inventory pressure

China’s poultry and egg prices have dipped in recent weeks, with egg prices falling to multi-year lows.

27 May 2020, at 11:34am

Reuters reports that inventories are rising amid sluggish consumer demand.

Egg futures prices on the Dalian Commodity Exchange have slipped in recent weeks to trade at historic lows, a sharp reversal from its three-year high in October 2019.

Futures were on course for their sharpest monthly loss, with the June delivery contract down 14 percent in May. On 27 May, it was last down 2.3 percent at 2,641 yuan ($368.92) per tonne.

“Because of African swine fever, poultry and egg inventories rose significantly last year... Many producers entered the market. However, now consumption is affected by the coronavirus since Chinese New Year,” said Lin Qing, an agriculture analyst at Junrui Futures.

“Egg inventories will be high throughout the year, so prices will be on the low side. Upcoming holidays like the Dragon Boat Festival (in June) and the Mid-Autumn Festival (in October) will boost prices, but not significantly.”

China’s poultry production expanded by 12 percent last year to 22.39 million tonnes, as farmers sought to plug the gap from the pork shortage caused by African swine fever that ravaged the domestic hog herd.

Retail and wholesale prices for eggs in May also fell to its lowest since July-August 2017, while chicken retail and wholesale prices dipped to its lowest since July-August 2019, according to data from China’s agriculture ministry.

While poultry and egg demand has picked up, consumption has yet to return to levels seen before the coronavirus outbreak despite China’s easing measures to contain the virus, as many cafeterias, catering services or public events aren’t back yet, said Darin Friedrichs, senior Asia commodity analyst at brokerage INTL FCStone.

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