The deal of 246,600 cases of eggs for final deliver to Germany, Italy, Israel, and Japan is three times larger than the USEM sale last fall that increased egg prices an estimated 20 cents per dozen, says Gene Gregory, vice president of United Egg Producers, Atlanta.
Because egg prices are higher and the most recent sale is occurring in a lower demand period, it’s difficult to say how high egg prices will go because of it, but there is potential for a “sizeable increase,” Gregory says. The November sale was the biggest in three years, “now we have these two sales back to back,” he says. USEM is a cooperative managed by UEP. Market conditions have to be right for sales like these and now they are, Gregory says.
For exports overall, “we are bullish for 2007, especially for processed egg products, says James Sumner, president of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, Stone Mountain, Ga. He says that concern over avian influenza globally has led to more use of processed egg products, because they are pasteurized, and “the U.S. is strongly positioned in what the world wants.”
Sumner says that the cost of production is increasing to U.S. producers due to higher corn prices, but this does not place the United States at a comparative disadvantage with most egg producing countries because the cost of corn is increasing globally. He says that China has a corn shortage and the Argentine government recently placed a ban on corn exports due to concern that the nation may run out of corn.
Hong Kong offers particular potential as a growing market for U.S. egg sales, Sumner says, because of a dye Chinese egg producers used to make yolks darker. The dye is not allowed in the U.S., he notes.