SINGAPORE – Fresh chicken prices in Singapore are expected to rise next week as suppliers deal with the rising costs of procuring from poultry farms in Malaysia.

Speaking to The Straits Times on Thursday (May 21), chairman of the Poultry Merchants’ Association Ong Kian San said the cost of chicken from across the causeway has increased by about 45 per cent in the last two weeks.

Mr Ong said: “Most suppliers have been absorbing the cost and keeping prices stable for now but will most likely have to increase prices next week. We can’t hold the price for so long without losses.”

He expects that prices of fresh chicken sold to supermarkets and wet markets will increase by about 10 per cent to 15 per cent next week.

“Unfortunately, customers will have to bear with an increase in price. The whole supply chain has been affected by Covid-19, so cost will inevitably rise,” said Mr Ong.

Asked about the chicken cost increase in Malaysia, Mr Ong said that when Malaysia first implemented its movement control order in March, demand for chicken drastically dropped and farmers stopped rearing them.

“But now demand is high again in both Malaysia and Singapore. But the supply has not caught up yet so prices have gone up,” he said.

Poultry sellers in Tekka Market and wet markets in Bishan and Toa Payoh said on Wednesday (May 20) that the price of fresh chicken coming in from Malaysia has remained stable throughout the circuit breaker period.

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Supply has also been stable though it has sometimes dipped due to increased demand, said one chicken seller at the wet market in Lorong 1 Toa Payoh.

While some stallholders saw chicken prices go up by about 20 cents to 30 cents per kilogram last month, these vendors said they have been absorbing the increased costs and have not started charging customers more.

Mr Chua Boon Leng, 48, who runs a chicken stall at Tekka Market, said: “The price will still go up but our prices won’t. We just have to withstand it for now. We can’t be expensive.”

A whole fresh chicken weighing about 1.4kg sold for around $8 at these stalls.

One vendor at the wet market in Lorong 8 Toa Payoh said he has raised the price of his whole chickens from $8 to $8.50 to cope with last month’s price hike.

Wanting to be known only as Mr Tan, he said: “I have no choice; 30 cents a kilogram is a lot. They say it is because of low supply due to the lockdown (in Malaysia).”

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When asked if he was worried about another hike soon, he added: “We have to see how it goes. There is nothing we can do. It all depends on the (suppliers).”

A check with supermarket chains here, including FairPrice, Cold Storage and Giant, found that prices for chicken have been stable in the last week.

A FairPrice spokesman said: “We will continue to work closely with our suppliers to ensure daily essentials remain readily available at affordable prices for Singaporeans.”

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Though the cost of chicken is likely to rise, consumers need not worry about supply.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said food supply has remained stable so far.

An SFA spokesman said: “Our food supply, including for items such as eggs, fish, chicken, fruits, and vegetables, has remained relatively stable so far. SFA has been undertaking long-term planning and proactively taking action to safeguard our food supply.”

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.



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