Malaysia’s current chicken imports are not enough to cover demand in Singapore

Singapore. Amid the increasing prices and shortage of supply, the sales of chicken significantly decreased during Chinese New Year, according to sellers and importers.

During the festivities, wet markets were noticeably quieter, with most stallholders reporting a 50% drop in customers.

The price increase of chicken can be attributed to a few causes, including inflation. Additionally, Malaysia’s chicken export ban was just partially lifted in October.

Food inflation in Singapore is expected to increase to 7.5% in December, according to official figures. Meat prices were 14.7% higher compared to the same month in 2021.

More from OMY: Headline inflation in Singapore at 6.7%, core inflation at 5.1%

In December 2022, a whole chilled chicken cost S$8.91 per kilogram. In May 2022 before Malaysia’s ban, the price was S$7.22. When the ban started in June 2022, prices rose to S$8.39.

Fu Lai Fa at Bukit Merah View Market reported about 30% to 40% fewer customers during the Chinese New Year. Meanwhile, Swee Heng Fresh Chicken Shop at Beo Crescent Market saw a 20% decrease in customers.

“During Chinese New Year, (the business) dropped. Very horrible, almost 50%. And now with the CDC vouchers, people can go to the supermarket (to buy their chicken),” said Kim Heng Frozen Food owner Mr. Tan.

Last month, CDC vouchers were issued to help households adjust to the rising living expenses. Half of the total vouchers can be spent on participating supermarkets, and not just in heartland shops and hawker stalls.

Despite everything, customers are not blaming the stalls for increasing their prices.

Currently, chicken imports from Malaysia have not gone back to pre-ban levels. The partial resumption of chicken supplies from Singapore’s neighbour is also not enough to fulfil the demand.

“With the current COVID-19 issue and raw material price issue, I don’t think suppliers will reduce the price. Because of all the uncertainty, and the permit (to export chicken) is based on a monthly basis, no farmer will want to raise more chicken,” shared Ma Chin Chew, CEO of Hup Heng Poultry Industries.

Apart from this, poultry importers are saying that the increase in chicken prices is also due to the high cost of rearing chickens.

“If the cost of chicken feed drops, then ultimately the cost of chicken will drastically reduce. If the feed is expensive, poultry cost will be on the high side,” said James Sim, chief marketing officer for chicken importer Kee Song Food.

“Once chicken feed costs increase, farmers tend to rear less chicken. Then (it’s an issue of) demand and supply. If (demand is) not met, ultimately the cost of chicken will go up,’ he added.

Sim also mentioned that the consumption of chicken has decreased.

More from OMY: 91% of Singaporeans say inflation is getting personal: survey

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