Egg prices show signs of stabilizing

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Egg prices show signs of stabilizing

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A customer makes fried eggs at a restaurant in Daegu on Friday. The restaurant continued running an unlimited self-service bar for fried eggs, even with recent price increases. [YONHAP]

Egg prices fell below 9,300 won ($7.90) on Friday for the first time in eight days, with the retail price of a 30-egg case averaging 9,285 won.

The price increase began in mid-November amid the country’s worst bird flu outbreak in years. The peak was last Thursday, when a case of 30 eggs went for about 9,543 won, a nearly 70 percent increase from early November. Just before the outbreak curtailed the nation’s egg supply, a case of 30 averaged around 5,600 won.

The first sign of relief came last Friday, when the price fell to 9,491 won. After some fluctuation this week between 9,500 won and 9,300 won, the price finally settled below the 9,300-won mark on Friday.

Such movements are positive considering some 400 tons of eggs imported from the United States haven’t reached the consumer market yet. The eggs arrived earlier this week and are still under inspection at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. They’re expected to go on sale at Lotte Mart next week.

Sample eggs brought from Australia, where the government was hoping to procure more eggs, failed to pass the ministry’s test on Friday.

One major event left for the egg market is the upcoming Lunar New Year, when egg demand soars to its highest. Eggs are a major ingredient in dishes used for ancestral rites. The expected spike in demand over the holiday was one of the driving factors for hurried egg imports.

“It’s too early to say that egg prices have stabilized given the imported eggs will be offered next week, and we still have the Lunar New Year coming up,” said an official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “The current expectation is that egg prices will stabilize once the holidays are over.”


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]

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