February 1, 2023


Singapore chicken sales fell over Chinese New Year amid rising prices and supply shortage




Singaporean chicken sellers and importers said sales of the meat declined during Chinese New Year amid rising prices and a supply shortage, Channel News Asia reported.


They said the chicken price increase was due to a variety of factors, including inflation and Malaysia's chicken export ban, which was imposed in June of last year to address their domestic supply shortage.


Malaysia's export ban for live broiler chickens was only partially lifted in October 2022.


At the same time, rising inflation in Singapore has weighed on chicken prices.


Singapore's food inflation rose to 7.5% in December, according to official figures released last week. Meat prices were 14.7% higher than in the same month in 2021.


December data from the Singapore Department of Statistics showed a whole chilled chicken now costs an average of SGD 8.91 per kg. This compares to SGD 7.22 per kg in May, prior to Malaysia's ban, and SGD 8.39 in June, after the ban went into effect.


Chilled chicken wings increased in price from SGD 10.43 per kg in May to SGD 11.67 in December.


Chicken imports from Malaysia have not yet returned to pre-ban levels across the industry in Singapore, including at supermarket chains.


A spokesperson for major Singapore supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice said that the company has increased supplies from other markets, including Indonesia, Thailand, and Brazil, to close the gap.


The rise in chicken prices can be attributed to various factors such as the higher cost of chicken feed, logistics, manpower shortages, and volatile market conditions.


The spokesperson said while Malaysian chicken prices have risen, prices in Brazil and Thailand have remained stable.


FairPrice said customer demand for Indonesian chicken is also steadily increasing.


A spokesperson for another Singapore supermarket chain. Sheng Siong, said their chicken sales volume is lower than before, in large part because supply has yet to fully resume.


However, despite rising prices for fresh chicken from before Malaysia's ban to after its partial lifting, the supermarket has not yet seen a significant impact on demand.


Sheng Siong said the inverse relationship between demand and price generally holds across other meat products, adding that more time may be required to determine whether there has been a change in consumers' preference for chicken as a result of price adjustments.


Poultry importers in Singapore said that the rising prices were due to the increased cost of rearing chickens.


James Sim, chief marketing officer for chicken importer Kee Song Food, said chicken prices will increase if the cost of chicken feed goes up. 


Sim said that consumption of chicken has decreased during the recent Chinese New Year period, most likely due to customers' other choices" of meat, such as fish, pork, beef, or mutton.


He said demand for chicken remains, but not as strong as it was.


Ma Chin Chew, chief executive officer of Hup Heng Poultry Industries, said the partial resumption in supply from Malaysia is not enough to fulfil demand for the market.


He said suppliers will not reduce prices due to current COVID-19 situation and raw material price issue, adding that no farmer will want to raise more chicken because of all the uncertainty, and the permit to export chicken is based on a monthly basis. 


Ma said the effects of inflation will inevitably trickle down to consumers once retailers factor in the price increase.


-      Channel News Asia

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