US Egg Prices Hit Record High As Resurgent Bird Flu Dents Production

US Egg Prices Hit Record High As Resurgent Bird Flu Dents Production

The unseasonable return of avian influenza or bird flu continues to devastate egg production in the US. As a result, retail prices for a dozen eggs at the supermarket have soared to record highs, fueling breakfast inflation. 

Bird flu’s return comes as more than 40 million birds were culled in the first half of the year. The disease usually abates during the hot summer months. The current death toll of birds stands at a whopping 45 million and could dramatically worsen, Beth Thompson, South Dakota’s state veterinarian, told Bloomberg. She said the virus is being fueled this fall by the migration of wild birds that fly above commercial farms and leave droppings that get tracked into poultry houses. 

Thompson said bird flu “doesn’t seem to have been affected by that hot summer, and in the next probably four to six weeks, we’re going to see those migrating birds coming back from Canada, flying over the US.” She added, “that may increase the viral load that’s out in the environment.” 

The culling of millions of birds has dented egg supplies, sending prices sky-high and above 2015 outbreak levels (last major bird flu) to now $3.16 per dozen at the supermarket. Retail prices have doubled since August 2020, straining consumers’ wallets as breakfast inflation soars. 

Besides eggs, turkeys sell at a record high price ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. 

According to Urner Barry data, turkey prices were about $1.82 a pound last week, up from $1.42 last year and $1.01 before the pandemic. 

“There’s nothing appearing on the horizon to suggest anything new is going to surface to help ease the supply-side pain for Thanksgiving turkeys,” said Russ Whitman, senior vice president at commodity researcher Urner Barry.

Consumers can’t catch a break as food inflation pressures household budgets. There’s nothing the Federal Reserve can do about supply-side food woes because they can’t print eggs or turkey meat. Instead, the Fed can aggressively send interest rates higher, denting demand though it comes at a risk of causing household discontent. 

Tyler Durden
Tue, 09/27/2022 – 16:40

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