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Egg price hikes hit record high in Japan due to Russia's war on Ukraine, bird flu

Packs of eggs are seen at a supermarket in Tokyo on Jan. 19, 2023. (Mainichi/Yuki Machino)

TOKYO -- Japan's agriculture ministry announced on Jan. 18 that the average retail price of eggs in January stood at 244 yen (about $2) per 10-pack of mixed sizes, up 13% from the average over the past five years.

    The rate of increase in January was higher than in December, when the average retail price was 8% higher than average. The rise is due to higher feed prices caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and a decline in Japan's egg supply due to the nationwide spread of avian influenza, among other factors. It is the highest on record since July 2019, when comparable figures began being collected.

    The ministry surveys egg retail prices at 470 supermarkets and other stores across the country every month. The latest survey was carried out from Jan. 9 to 11.

    The average wholesale price of medium eggs in the Tokyo area increased about 80% from the average of the past five years, according to figures announced by National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations' major egg wholesaler Z-Tamago Co. on Jan. 18. This means the increase in retail price was modest compared to the wholesale price.

    Norinchukin Research Institute Co. senior researcher Katsuhiko Kitahara commented, "As supermarkets and other stores set their prices on a quarterly to semi-annual basis with egg retailers, the current retail price does not yet reflect the steep rise in feed prices and other factors. Retail prices are likely to rise even further after the next price revision."

    (Japanese original by Yuki Machino, Business News Department)

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