Malaysia: Bird flu causing egg price hike - Minister

The Star 16 Dec 18;

IPOH: The increase in the prices of eggs is due to the bird flu affecting the poultry industry, says Datuk Salahuddin Ayub (pic).

The Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister said the flu was causing a shortage in supply but assured consumers that the problem was only temporary.

“We are in dis­­cussions with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry on steps to contain the pricing,” he told reporters on the sidelines of Parti Amanah Negara’s national convention here yester­day.

According to recent reports, egg farmers were closing shop due to soaring feed prices. As such, egg production dropped by about 70% as compared to two years ago.

On contingency plans in view of the coming Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations, he said: “Once the com­­mittee has come up with a report, we will take the necessary measures.”

The Malaysia Competition Commission also said it was working closely with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry to check on any market manipulation that might have affected the domestic market for chicken eggs.

MyCC said that aside from anti-profiteering issues, it was looking into the possibility of anti-competitive behaviour among the market players.

Spike in egg prices partly due to bird flu: Malaysia’s agriculture minister
Channel NewsAsia 15 Dec 18;

IPOH: The recent increase in egg prices in Malaysia is partly due to bird flu which has caused a disruption to supply, said Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub on Saturday (Dec 15).

Another reason is the increase in export volumes, he added.

“The statement by the Malaysia Competition Commission that the export of chicken eggs to foreign markets has increased lately will also be looked into,” the minister told reporters on the sidelines of an event.

When asked if contingency measures are being put in place ahead of Chinese New Year, Salahuddin said a committee set up to look into egg prices must first determine what’s causing the price hike.

"Once the committee has come up with a report, we will take the necessary measures,” he said as quoted by the Star.

The competition commission had said on Thursday that it was looking into the possibility of anti-competitive behaviour among market players.

According to Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the price of grade A eggs in Putrajaya in the first week of November increased from RM3.98 (S$1.30) for 10 eggs to RM5.11.

He said earlier this week that Malaysia is looking into limiting or stopping the export of eggs to ensure there is sufficient supply for its domestic market.

In response to Saifuddin's comments, Singapore's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) said Singapore has "a wide range of alternative sources" of eggs, including local farms.

Last year, egg imports from Malaysia made up 73 per cent of Singapore's egg consumption, said AVA.

Source: Bernama/CNA/gs/ic

Imported chicken feed among reasons for egg price hike
Bernama New Straits Times 16 Dec 18;

POKOK SENA: One of the main reasons behind the increase in the price of eggs in the market is the soaring price of imported chicken feed, says Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP).

Its Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said most of the chicken feed were imported from countries like Brazil and Argentina with the business transaction conducted in Singapore, before the supply being brought into the country.

“The import of chicken feed is worth about RM35 billion a year, and not many traders are involved in this business because when I was first appointed as minister I was looking at this business and found only 25 or 26 traders.

“Most of the chicken feed are from Brazil and Argentina and the traders have been carrying out their business transaction in Singapore for a very long time... everything related to finance, insurance, taxes were all done in Singapore before the supply being brought into Malaysia using transfer pricing,” he told reporters after attending the handover of zakat (tithes) of the Companies Commission of Malaysia here today.

He was commenting on the increase in the price of eggs in the local market and whether there were cartels and monopolies involved in controlling the prices.

Saifuddin said when importers conducted the transfer pricing, it led to higher costs to be borne by the breeders in the country to obtain the supply, and to cover the cost they were forced to increase the price of eggs.

He said to address the problem, the ministry had set up a committee led by its secretary-general Datuk Seri Jamil Salleh to ensure that the supply of chicken feed was no longer dependent on the importers.

Meanwhile, according to the Veterinary Services Department portal, the current price of eggs recorded on Dec 4 was at 43 sen each for ‘AA’ grade, followed by 42 sen for ‘A’ grade, ‘B’ grade (41 sen), ‘C’ grade (40 sen), D grade (38 sen) and E grade (36 sen).


Malaysia on the hunt for possible egg cartels after prices jump
Straits Times 19 Dec 18;

KUALA LUMPUR • An almost 30 per cent jump in egg prices in just one week has prompted a Malaysian government investigation into potential collusion.

The cost of a crate of 10 eggs in the administrative capital of Putrajaya climbed to as high as RM5.11 (S$1.68) at the start of this month, from RM3.98 a week earlier, according to the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

Average prices in Malaysia are currently about RM4 for 10 eggs.

The ministry is looking across the supply chain to determine if collusion or cartels artificially boosted prices, its minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said in response to questions from Bloomberg.

"If egg prices remain high or continue to rise, Malaysian consumers will be adversely affected," Datuk Seri Saifuddin said, adding that eggs are also exported to places such as Singapore, Hong Kong, the Maldives and Mauritius.

"If egg prices continue to increase or remain high, we might examine whether it is necessary to continue exporting eggs at the current volume."

Malaysia's egg supply fell about 3 per cent this month after a few farms in the north of the country were investigated for avian flu, according to the Veterinary Services Department.

Laboratory tests later revealed that the farms were free of the avian influenza virus, it said.

Approximately 73 per cent of Singapore's eggs are from Malaysia, according to the Agri-food and Veterinary Authority.

A weaker currency has also made imported feed more expensive, according to the department.

The supply drop was likely caused by small farmers closing after being unable to cope with low prices, coupled with the cost of chicken feed, said Federation of Livestock Farmers' Associations of Malaysia president Jeffrey Ng.

Farmers have been selling below output costs for the past two years, he said.

The ministry will roll out controls to cap the price of eggs for five days during the Christmas holiday to protect consumers at a time of high demand, Mr Saifuddin said.

A ceiling price will be set after discussions among producers, the ministry and the Veterinary Services Department.

About 73 per cent of Singapore's eggs are from Malaysia, according to the Republic's Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA), with around a quarter produced locally in Singapore.

AVA said that supplies remain unaffected for now, and there are plans to acquire eggs from elsewhere, if need be.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian government has said it will prohibit the export of four species of wild-caught fish and shrimp to meet the shortage in the market during the monsoon and festive seasons.

The export of fish species kembung (mackerel), selar (trevally), pelaling (Indian mackerel) and bawal (pomfret), as well as shrimp, will be prohibited from Jan 1 to Feb 28 next year.