For 2007, prices are forecast to range between 78 and 84 cents per dozen, according to USDA’s Livestock, Dairy, & Poultry Outlook released in December.

In November 2006, prices jumped to just under $1/doz., 78% higher than the year’s lowest monthly average of 56.4 cents in May. USDA says the rapid rise is likely due to continued firm demand a very modest production growth. Production in the fourth quarter was forecast to increase just 0.3% over the same period a year earlier, as producers responded to higher feed prices.

For all of 2006, table egg prices were forecast to average 71 cents per dozen, compared to 65.5 cents in 2005. Production was forecast to increase 1.4% in 2006, with a slightly smaller increase, 1.3%, forecast for 2007.

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In the third quarter 2006, exports of eggs and egg products (in-shell equivalent) rose 5.9%, compared to year-earlier levels. Most of the export growth was in table and hatching eggs, which rose 3.2 million dozen, and over 1 million dozen, respectively, in the third quarter over the second quarter. Hong Kong became the largest U.S. export market for table eggs (6 million dozen), followed by Canada (4.5 million dozen) and Mexico (2.9 million dozen). U.S. egg product exports, however, were down nearly 1 million dozen in third quarter 2006 from the previous quarter, due to decreased shipments to Japan and the United Kingdom.

USDA projects corn prices to average $2.90 to $3.30/bu. for the 2006-07 marketing year, compared with $2/bu. in the 2005-06 marketing year. Soybean prices are projected to average $5.70 to $6.50/bu for 2006-07, while soybean meal prices are estimated to average $165 to $190 per ton.