Mel's Market Report April 2020
The past months have seen increasingly challenging circumstances for egg production impacted by a number factors now further complicated by the Covid 19 virus.
With the European cage laying flock in decline for the last year owing to a trend towards higher welfare methods, there was reluctance to re stock with new birds when a flock changeover was required. As demand rises for barn and free range so the number of birds a farm can manage reduces. You get more birds in cages in sheds per square metre!
In addition there have been a lot of bird flu outbreaks around Europe this winter, particularly in eastern Europe resulting in flocks being culled as they become ill. We have also had several hundred thousand birds culled in the UK which had contracted low pathogen flu. There has been increasing demand for eggs as the appetite for meat reduces and so availability and price of caged shell has come under pressure gradually and the market has hit difficulties, and then comes along Covid 19.
We are all aware of the current panic buying and this has also been applied to retail eggs. We heard that Germany is stockpiling (applying toilet roll mentality?) but we imagine so too are others. Currently the market is empty and playing catch up. The only balancing factor is that industrial production is slightly lower at present. There is a limit to how many eggs one can stockpile because of their shelf life so we are never going to see stocks dry up completely. It will be a week by week review for the egg industry but likely that liquid egg prices will increase if this continues.
OILS AND FATS
Prices have continued to ease over the past week on rising concerns over the continuing spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) across the world, with Europe now at the epicentre of the pandemic. This is having a significant impact in terms of global economic growth and has hit world commodity and equity markets.
As in previous reports, the losses in rapeseed oil are limited and will continue to be limited due to the very tight supply and demand situation for rapeseed with the outlook for the next crop looking unfavourable for the third consecutive year. The next EU rapeseed crop is seen at around 17.25 million tonnes, only slightly higher than last year’s poor crop but the outlook for the UK is looking pretty dire due to poor planting conditions and adverse weather concerns over the winter following recent floods. The reality is that Europe will continue to be reliant on imports to satisfy demand well into 2021.
Prices have continued to ease after a sporadic trading week as the market struggles between supportive fundamentals (low production and stocks) and concerns over the continued impact of coronavirus on world demand.
Production is expected to rise in both Indonesia and Malaysia in the coming months, but it will take some considerable time to replenish stocks, so the situation still looks extremely tight. The market is now waiting for cues on the export pace for March, with some mixed signals on whether they will be slightly higher or slightly lower than February. There has certainly been an issue with lower demand from China and India, and with the increasing impact of coronavirus this will have further implications in the coming months.