SEOUL, March 14 (Korea Bizwire) — Prices of eggs in South Korea may jump by up to 68 percent in the March-May period this year, as the spreading avian influenza is expected to further exacerbate the supply shortage, a state-funded think tank said Sunday.
In the three-month period, the supply price of a large-size 10-egg carton is estimated at 1,600 won (US$1.41) to 1,800 won, considerably higher than the 1,069 won-1,158 won per carton a year ago, according to the forecast by the Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI).
As of Friday, the consumer price for a 30-egg bundle averaged 7,633 won. The price is 24 percent lower than a month ago but 44.7 percent higher than the previous year.
The KREI attributed the potential hike in egg prices to a steep fall in production, generated by the outbreak of avian influenza.
The average number of chickens on farms is expected to decrease by 8.7 percent on-year to 66.1 million during the three-month period, according to the KREI report.
The fall is expected to slash the daily egg production by 17.1 percent on-year to 37.6 million eggs, data showed.
The think tank said the egg production is likely to normalize in June and September, and help stabilize the exuberant egg prices, provided that the bird disease subsides.
On Jan. 28, South Korea temporarily removed tariffs on imported egg products in an effort to ease a supply shortage.
Local firms are allowed to import a total of 50,000 tons of fresh eggs and seven other types of egg products without tariffs until June 30.