Retail egg prices fell in February – but the price drop may not last long
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According to federal data released on Tuesday, retail egg prices fell in February, bringing relief to consumers who have seen grocery price increases in recent months.
According to this, average egg prices fell almost 7% in February compared to January consumer price indexa key barometer of inflation.
A dozen large Grade A eggs cost $4.21 in February, down 13% from $4.82 in January, which was a record high, the data said federal data tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The monthly decline was the first since September.
Why Egg Prices Have Soared
Economists say this dramatic increase in egg prices is largely due to an illness called highly pathogenic avian influenza – known as bird flu.
The disease is contagious and fatal to birds. It killed a record number, including laying hens, in 2022.
In recent years, the virus has typically disappeared after spring. It reappeared last fall, curbing egg production as it headed into the peak egg-demand season around the winter holidays, experts said.
Lower prices now partially reflect a fall in consumer demand earlier in the year, which is a typical seasonal pattern, said Brian Moscogiuri, a global commerce strategist at Eggs Unlimited, an egg supplier.
There wasn’t either new confirmed case of bird flu among commercial table egg farms since December, giving suppliers some time to recover.
“Are we expecting crazy record prices again? No,” Moscogiuri said.
Egg prices could rise again at Easter
However, according to experts, prices could rise again due to the generally strong demand around this Easter holiday, which takes place in April. There is also a possibility that bird flu could reappear on egg farms.
General inflationary pressures are also helping to keep egg prices high. These include higher corn and soybean prices, which make feeding chickens more expensive, as well as labor and transportation costs, Moscogiuri said.
Average wholesale egg prices are up 16% so far in March, according to Urner Barry’s senior analyst Angel Rubio, who follows the wholesale market.
It generally takes about a month for those prices to trickle down to consumers, and price movements are often more muted, Rubio said.
Ultimately, like grocery stores, retailers determine the timing and amount of price increases for consumers.
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/15/retail-egg-prices-fell-in-february-but-price-drop-may-not-last-long.html Retail egg prices fell in February – but the price drop may not last long