Singaporeans may face higher egg prices soon, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Singaporeans may face higher egg prices soon

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Key supplier looking into limiting exports

Madam X. Y. Loh , 56, runs a small bakery in Jurong, making a variety of cakes, buns, pastries as well as other goodies.

She uses over one hundred eggs a day, which comes to slightly over $300 - earlier this year. Now, this has almost doubled and she expects to fork over $600 by the end of this month.

"I never would have thought that eggs could get this expensive," Madam Loh said. "I might have to raise my prices soon."

The cost of eggs, particularly around festive seasons, can make a real dent in the total earnings of small businesses like hers, said Madam Loh.

And there is likely to be no respite from the price increases for eggs anytime soon, with a major supplier to Singapore warning that exports may be restricted.

On Monday, Malaysia's Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said that the country was looking into limiting, or stopping the export of eggs.

He said the move was to ensure a sufficient supply for the domestic market.

"We will study if stopping the export is reasonable or not, even if it is for a short term. If it helps to reduce the price of eggs and benefit the people, we will definitely look into it," the minister was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times daily.

He said the average price of chicken eggs increased every week between the middle of last month and this month.

Mr Saifuddin said that residents in Penang, Sarawak and Putrajaya have complained about alleged cartel activity among egg suppliers, which had caused prices to rise in mid-November.

He also said that checks had been carried out nationwide at the production, distribution and wholesale stages to find out the cause for the price hike.

"If the traders are purposely increasing the price of eggs in order to make exorbitant profits, the ministry will not hesitate to take action under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011," Mr Saifuddin said.

Local egg farms, such as Seng Choon Farm and Chew's Agriculture Pte Ltd, among others, supply 26 per cent of the eggs consumed in Singapore.

The rest or 74 per cent is imported and Malaysian farms remain a key source.

The average Singaporean eats 308 eggs a year, statistics from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Agency showed last year.

Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News, reported earlier this month that the wholesale price of an egg has jumped from 10 cents in April to 16 cents.

The report forecasts that prices would continue to rise , particularly after a salmonella outbreak in an egg farm in Yong Peng, Johor. Before exports from the farm were halted, it exported approximately three million eggs to Singapore, about six per cent of its imports.