Pre-Easter wholesale egg prices increasingPre-Easter wholesale egg prices increasing
Lower shell-egg inventories likely to put additional pressure on wholesale prices ahead of holiday.
March 17, 2023
USDA’s latest “Livestock, dairy and poultry outlook” reported that wholesale shell-egg prices (New York, Grade A Large) in February averaged almost $2.50/dozen, a 44% year-over-year increase. USDA economists Grace Grossen and Adriana Valcu-Lisman noted that early February prices continued a decline that began at the end of December, reaching and maintaining a low of $2.29/dozen from February 9 to February 14. Since then, however, daily prices have been gradually rising in anticipation of Easter demand. Further, the economists said lower-than-average shell-egg inventories ahead of the holiday will likely put additional pressure on wholesale prices in the upcoming weeks.
USDA recently increased it Q1 price forecast to $3.08/dozen, which the economists said reflects steady growth in February and early March prices and lower production projections. The Q2 forecast was also raised to $2.00/dozen. The increases bring the wholesale egg price forecast for 2023 to $2.12/dozen, a 24.9% year-over-year decrease from 2022.
Egg production forecast lower
According to the outlook, the U.S. table-egg inventory in February was estimated at 309.4 million layers, 5% lower than last year. The lay rate at the beginning of February was below year-ago levels, marking the third consecutive month of year-over-year decline, the economists noted.
They further pointed out that February 1 layer inventory and lay rate as well as other upstream production indicators suggest a slower-than-expected growth of the egg-layer flock.
“As a reference, during and after the 2014–2015 HPAI outbreak, the average size of the egg-layer flock was year-over-year lower for 12 consecutive months, before showing signs of recovery to the pre-outbreak levels,” they said.
USDA has revised down its 2023 table-egg production forecasts for the first two quarters to 1.90 billion dozen and 1.98 billion dozen, respectively. Consequently, the 2023 total table egg production is now forecast at 8.04 billion dozen, a 3.3% decrease from last year.
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