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Consumers breathed a sigh of relief as retail egg prices eased in February, according to federal data released Tuesday. see prices soar At the grocery store the last few months.
According to statistics, the average price of eggs in February fell by nearly 7% compared with January consumer price indexa key barometer inflation.
A dozen large Grade A eggs cost $4.21 in February, down 13% from $4.82 in January and a record high. federal data Tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The monthly decline was the first since September.
Why Egg Prices Are Rising So Fast
Economists say the sharp rise in egg prices stems largely from a disease called highly pathogenic avian influenza — known as Avian Influenza.
The disease is contagious and fatal in birds. It killed record numbers in 2022, including laying hens.
In previous years, the virus usually disappeared after spring. It reappeared last fall, experts said, curbing egg production as egg season hits around the winter holidays.
Brian Moscogiuri, global trade strategist at egg supplier Eggs Unlimited, said lower prices now partly reflect lower consumer demand at the start of the year, a typical seasonal pattern.
never New confirmed cases Since December, bird flu outbreaks in commercial table egg farms have given suppliers some time to recover.
“Are we going to expect crazy, record pricing again? No,” Moscogiuri said.
Egg prices could rise again around Easter
However, experts say prices are likely to rise again before Easter in April due to generally strong demand around Easter. There is also the possibility of bird flu re-emerging on egg farms.
Prevailing inflationary pressures are also helping to keep egg prices up. These include higher corn and soybean prices, which make it more expensive to raise hens, as well as labor and transportation costs, Moscogiuri said.
Average wholesale egg prices are up 16% so far in March, said Angel Rubio, senior analyst at Urner Barry who tracks the wholesale market.
Rubio said it typically takes about a month for those prices to be passed on to consumers, and the price changes are usually more modest.
Ultimately, retailers such as grocery stores decide for consumers when and how much to raise prices.