A tray of eggs.
For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Higher demand for poultry in China after the spread of African swine fever cut supplies of pork has created another problem — shortages of eggs, which have sent prices to the highest level in more than four years.

“There are not as many hens as before to lay eggs,” said Jim Huang, chief executive officer of China-data.com.cn, an adviser to the agriculture industry. Futures in Dalian have soared almost 10 per cent in less than two weeks and closed at 4,688 yuan (Dh2,499.7) a ton on Tuesday, the highest since November 2014.

Egg prices are also getting support from increased buying by food companies to make moon cakes and egg tarts — popular treats served during the mid-autumn festival that falls in the second week of September, said Huang.

Stronger chicken meat prices have been helping local companies. Shandong Yisheng Livestock & Poultry Breeding Co said its profit will soar almost 2,700 per cent, thanks to higher prices. In its annual report, Yisheng said the hog disease had triggered substitute demand for chicken, boosting consumption and prices. Chicken accounted for 91 per cent of the company’s sales last year.