Prices of fresh chicken expected to rise next week as demand outweighs supply

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Fresh chicken prices in Singapore are expected to rise next week as suppliers deal with the increasing costs of procuring from poultry farms in Malaysia.

Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Poultry Merchants' Association chairman Ong Kian San said the cost of chicken from across the Causeway has increased by about 45 per cent in the last two weeks.

"Most suppliers have been absorbing the costs and keeping prices stable for now, but they will most likely have to increase prices," he said.

He expects prices of fresh chicken sold to supermarkets and wet markets to increase by 10 per cent to 15 per cent next week.

Asked about the cost increase in Malaysia, Mr Ong said that when Malaysia first implemented its movement control order in March, demand dropped drastically and farmers stopped rearing chickens.

"Now, demand is high again in both Malaysia and Singapore. But the supply has not caught up yet, so prices have gone up."

Poultry sellers at Tekka Market and wet markets in Bishan and Toa Payoh said on Wednesday that prices of fresh chicken from Malaysia have remained stable during the circuit breaker period.

While some stallholders saw chicken prices go up by 20 to 30 cents per kg last month, they said they have been absorbing the increased costs.

Mr Chua Boon Leng, 48, who runs a chicken stall at Tekka Market, said: "Their prices will still go up but our prices won't. We just have to withstand it for now. We can't be expensive."

A fresh chicken weighing 1.4kg was selling for around $8 in Tekka Market, Bishan and Toa Payoh.

One vendor at a wet market in Lorong 8 Toa Payoh, who wanted to be known only as Mr Tan, said he has raised the price of the whole chickens he sells from $8 to $8.50 to cope with last month's price hike.

A FairPrice spokesman said: "We will continue to work closely with our suppliers to ensure daily essentials remain readily available at affordable prices for Singaporeans."

Though the cost of chicken is likely to rise, consumers need not worry about supply.

A Singapore Food Agency (SFA) spokesman said: "Our food supply, including for items such as eggs, fish, chicken, fruits and vegetables, has remained relatively stable so far. SFA has been undertaking long-term planning and is proactively taking action to safeguard our food supply."