GLOBAL POULTRY TRENDS - Shell Egg Trade Doubles in Asia

Trade in shell eggs and egg products by Asian countries is growing, according to Terry Evans in his latest analysis of Asia'a egg industries.
calendar icon 20 February 2013
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Shell Egg Trade

Over the decade to 2010, the volume of shell eggs traded internationally doubled from just under one million tonnes to more than two million tonnes (Table 1). After discounting the quantities of hatching eggs in the world total production, the percentage of shell eggs traded annually has actually grown from a shade under two per cent to more than three per cent.

In broad terms, Asia's shell egg exports and imports both currently amount to around 500,000 tonnes a year or roughly one-quarter of the world total.

The fragile nature of shell eggs generally ensures that they are transported over relatively short distances mainly, although not exclusively, to neighbouring countries.

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The quantities exported by Asian countries increased two and a half times between 2000 and 2010 from 204,000 tonnes to 536,000 tonnes (Table 1). In 2010, this trade was dominated by just a handful of countries. In that year, for the first time, Turkey became the biggest exporter selling almost 132,000 tonnes (Table 1 and Figure 1). This country's exports have grown annually from a low of less than 4,000 tonnes in 2000. Of the 2010 trade, almost 95,000 tonnes went to Iraq, with a further 27,000 tonnes going to the Syrian Arab Republic. At least one report considers Turkish egg exports to have expanded further to around 225,000 tonnes in 2011.

Figure 1. Leading Asian shell egg exporters ('000 tonnes)

China used to be the largest exporter in this region but after sales had peaked at 135,000 tonnes in 2008, trade declined to 101,000 tonnes in 2010. Almost 83,500 tonnes (83 per cent) were purchased by Hong Kong in that year with an additional near 8,000 tonnes (eight per cent) going to Macao. As a result of domestic inflation, export prices have since risen such that they are currently close to those from the EU and US and so are no longer really competitive in export markets. As a consequence, China's exports are expected to have declined further.

The FAO trade data indicates that some 89,000 tonnes were exported from Malaysia in 2010, with Singapore the leading buyer, followed by Indonesia and Hong Kong.

Exports of fresh eggs from India peaked at a little more than 67,000 tonnes in 2007 but then declined to 35,000 tonnes in 2010. The indications are that they have since contracted again to around 25,000 tonnes in 2011, according to the International Egg Commission (IEC).

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Regarding shell egg imports into Asia, almost 200,000 tonnes (41 per cent) were purchased by just one country in 2010 - Iraq (Table 2 and Figure 2). Sales to this outlet have leapt from a mere 4,000 tonnes in 2005. Nearly 62,000 tonnes (13 per cent) were imported by other Middle East countries while a further 95,000 tonnes (21 per cent) were bought by Hong Kong.

Figure 2. Leading Asian shell egg importers ('000 tonnes)

Trade in Dried Egg Products

The world trade in dried egg (excluding egg whites) accelerated rapidly at almost nine per cent a year between 2000 and 2007 from 34,000 tonnes to nearly 61,000 (Tables 3 and 4). Since then, growth has stagnated with the 2010 total amounting to less than 60,000 tonnes.

For Asia, exports of dried egg (again excluding egg whites) increased five-fold from 2,200 tonnes to close on 11,000 tonnes over the period 2006 to 2008 but since then, the volume has contracted to less than 8,000 tonnes in 2010, reflecting a reduction in sales from the two major traders, India and China.

India is the leading exporter shipments having climbed from less than 1,000 tonnes in 2000 to peak at 8,800 tonnes in 2006 but quantities have since slipped back to just 6,100 tonnes in 2010. The main buyers of Indian products in that year were Germany (1,398 tonnes, mostly yolk plus some whole), Denmark (1,019 tonnes of yolk and whole egg), the Netherlands (1,010 tonnes yolk and whole), Indonesia (921 tonnes mainly whole egg plus some yolk and a little whites), Japan (560 tonnes, whites), Vietnam (348 tonnes of whites) and Saudi Arabia (324 tonnes).

China's exports have exhibited a similar pattern having risen from a mere 111 tonnes in 2000 to nearly 3,500 tonnes in 2008 but they have since contracted to 1,500 tonnes. Leading buyers of Chinese dried egg in 2010 were Kazakhstan (575 tonnes), Japan (249 tonnes), the Republic of Korea (142 tonnes) and the Ukraine (84 tonnes).

On the import side of the trade balance sheet, the main buyer of dried egg products is easily Japan. As mentioned earlier, unfortunately this FAO data does not include dried egg whites of which Japan bought some 10,000 tonnes in 2010. In addition, this country purchased some 5,000 tonnes of other forms of dried egg, of which the US supplied nearly 4,000 tonnes and India 427 tonnes.

Indonesia purchased nearly 1,300 tonnes of dried egg although, in this instance, India was the main supplier with more than 900 tonnes.

The US was the number one seller to the Philippines, where total purchases amounted to 557 tonnes in 2010, Kazakhstan imported some 579 tonnes of dried egg in 2010 with China the main supplier.

Saudi Arabia purchased 544 tonnes mainly from the Ukraine, the US and India.

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Trade in Liquid Egg Products

Some 270,000 tonnes of liquid egg is traded annually in Asian countries . Asia exports around 12,000 tonnes but imports more than 20,000 tonnes.

China and Thailand dominate the export trade in liquid egg in the region (Table 5), shipping some nearly 4,000 tonnes and 3,500 tonnes, respectively.

Although Japan is the major importer of liquid egg the quantities purchased over the decade declined from a peak of nearly 23,000 tonnes in 2005 to less than 10,000 tonnes in 2007-2010. In 2010, the US was the main supplier, followed by China, Thailand and Brazil (Table 6).

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February 2013

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