April 17, 2014

US egg prices rise to six-year high for Easter



Egg prices at United States groceries have climbed to the highest since 2008 as demand for the food shifts to colouring and hiding for the Easter holiday, Bloomberg reports.


Egg prices have jumped 7.1% in the past 12 months to a six-year high of US$2.06 a dozen in March, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. United States exports have jumped, and domestic consumption has climbed for a protein alternative to beef, pork and milk, whose costs by some measures climbed to a record, said John Anderson, a Washington-based deputy chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation.


Shoppers traditionally stock up on eggs for dyeing and cooking every Easter, which falls on April 20 this year, boosting sales, said Kevin Burkum, a senior vice president at the American Egg Board in Park Ridge, Illinois. In the four weeks leading up to the holiday in 2013, 2.6 billion eggs were bought, up 3.8% from 2012, he said, citing data from Nielsen.


Exports rose 32% to 28.2 million dozen in February from a year earlier, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Demand increased from Mexico following an outbreak of avian influenza, Anderson of the farm bureau said. United States per capita demand will climb 1.4% this year from 2013, the USDA said.


Eggs prices probably will ease after Easter as exports lose some of their "super strength," Anderson said. Annual shipments will fall 16%, the USDA forecasts. Costs that are higher than average may persist if protein prices advance, Anderson said. Retail ground beef and pork chops rose to records in March, and milk futures in Chicago climbed to the highest ever this month.