Poultry prices rise as demand returns.

Poultry prices that declined in the April-August period have started climbing again, with the end of Hindu religious periods Shravan and Adhik Maas, and Sri Lanka boosting egg imports from India.

Experts see demand for chicken and egg remaining firm and consequently, prices rising ahead of festivals and the wedding season in the October-December quarter.

An anticipated increase in the prices of soya, a major poultry feed, post-harvesting season will also pressure chicken and egg prices, they said.

Chicken prices rose to ₹92-122 per kg in farm gates of Kolkata, Bengaluru and Delhi this month, and retail prices ruled at ₹250-260 a kg, according to spot trading data. In July and August, farm gate chicken prices hovered around ₹90-100 per kg and retail prices were quoted at ₹180-210 per kg.

Similarly, egg prices in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Bengaluru inched up to ₹540 per 100 pieces in wholesale markets, and ₹650 at retail outlets in September.

In the previous two months, wholesale prices were at ₹415-515 per 100 pieces and retail at ₹520-550.

“Broiler chicken prices have been buoyant immediately after Shravan months because of producers’ balancing profit margins, strong consumer demand and the forthcoming soya harvesting season which may not be good in October pushed up prices,” said Nishant Lakkar, founder of AAA Rating Consultants and Advisors.

Delayed and erratic rainfall in Madhya Pradesh, the top soybean grower, has resulted in wet soil which is most likely to affect not only the quality but also the quantity in the coming harvesting season. Poultry producers have raised prices in anticipation of higher input costs.

Another factor is Sri Lanka’s decision towards the end of August to increase the import of eggs manifold to counter price fluctuations amid local shortages. Sri Lanka has been relying on India to meet its domestic egg consumption since March, after its forex crisis affected the import of animal feed, and led to a poultry supply crunch.

“As demand regains momentum with the onset of festivities and wedding season, poultry prices are expected to climb up in the October-December quarter of FY24,” said Pushan Sharma, director-research, CRISIL Market Intelligence and Analytics.

Although eggs and chicken prices rebounded this month, high poultry prices may not lead to higher food prices.

The 15-day Shradh and Navratri period will lead to some cooling of poultry prices, said Devendra Kumar Pant, chief economist at India Ratings & Research. “Food inflation is likely to come down from what it was last month mainly because of sharp decline in tomato prices and cooling some other food prices.”

Food inflation was 10.6% and 9.2% in July and August, respectively. Chicken and eggs have a weight of 1.23% and 0.43%, respectively in the Consumer Price Index.

-Source: By Ms. Puja Dass (Live Mint) and Poultry Live India’s Editorial Board’s Expert.