Better overall economic conditions in 2013 are expected to generate greater domestic demand for shell eggs and egg products, especially from the food service sector, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. However, higher production is expected to offset the demand and leave overall wholesale egg prices in 2013 at $1.00–$1.08 per dozen, only slightly higher than in 2012.

During the first quarter of 2012, the wholesale price in the New York market averaged $1.09 per dozen for Grade A large eggs. This is up almost 3 percent from the same time in 2011, in part due to the high prices at the beginning of the year carried over from strong fourth-quarter 2011 prices of $1.31 per dozen. Shell egg prices have fallen seasonally since the Easter holiday and second-quarter prices in the New York market are expected to average $0.91–$0.93 per dozen, down 14 percent from 2011, according to the USDA.

Exports of shell eggs and egg products are expected to expand to the equivalent of 266 million dozen in 2013, slightly higher than the forecast for 2012. Higher shipments in 2013 are expected to be generated primarily by stronger demand from a number of Asian countries, including Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Egg exports in 2012 are expected to contract, with smaller shipments to Mexico and Canada. One factor that could affect the 2012 forecast is high demands for breaking eggs and egg products from EU countries facing lower production.

In the first quarter of 2012, egg and egg product exports totaled 63 million dozen, down 6 percent from the same time in 2011. Much of the export decrease occurred in March, when shipments were down 13 percent from 2011 numbers. The March decline is chiefly the result of sharp drops in shipments to both Korea and the United Arab Emirates, according to the USDA. Shipments to Korea during the first quarter of 2012 were only 1.1 million dozen, down 88 percent from the same period in 2011.

For more egg information and statistics, see www.wattagnet.com/marketdata.html.