Malaysia bans chicken exports: How will this affect Singapore’s retailers and consumers?

Malaysia will be banning the export of chicken from 1 June 2022, following a local shortage, until domestic prices stabilise.

The announcement was made on 23 May 2022, after Malaysian consumers complained of rising chicken prices following the lack of local supply. Malaysia normally exports 3.6 million chickens per month.

image of chicken rice

At the moment, Singapore receives about 34 per cent of its chicken imports from Malaysia, with the other major sources being Brazil, which provides 49 per cent, and the United States, which provides 12 per cent.

Here are some ways in which the Malaysian chicken export ban might affect Singapore:

1. Rising costs of fresh chicken 

With Singapore about to lose a third of its monthly chicken imports from 1 June 2022 onwards, chicken sellers are expecting the prices of fresh, chilled chicken to rise by around 10 to 30 per cent, according to The Straits Times.

The Singapore Department of Statistics reported a rise in chicken prices from an average of S$6.60 per kg in March 2022 to S$7.21 per kg in April 2022, so with the ban taking effect from June, chicken prices will most likely soar even higher.

2. Temporary closure of fresh chicken stalls at wet markets

Unfortunately, some wet market poultry stalls may have to close temporarily.

According to an article by Channel News Asia, some wet market chicken stall owners are worried about driving customers away if they increase their prices even further. Many also receive the majority of their chicken supply from Malaysia, affecting their businesses greatly.

3. Rising costs of chicken dishes at F&B eateries

image of chicken rice storefront

The rising cost of fresh chicken will likely also lead to the rising cost of chicken dishes, including national favourites like Chicken Rice, Ayam Penyet and Korean Fried Chicken.

Some F&B eateries specialising in chicken dishes may even have to halt their business temporarily, especially if most of their chicken is obtained from Malaysia.

While it is still unclear how much the prices of these F&B dishes may rise by, perhaps it would be more affordable to choose non-poultry dishes when you dine out next time.

4. Increased usage of frozen chicken 

It’s time to let your inner Gordon Ramsay take a break, as you may have to consume more frozen chicken as opposed to fresh ones.

Although Singapore’s fresh chicken supply will be affected by Malaysia’s export ban, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) reports that frozen chickens are still available, and encourages Singapore’s consumers to switch to using frozen chicken for the time being.

This will certainly be a difficult time for chicken sellers, F&B outlets and chicken lovers in Singapore, but we hope that the chicken shortage problem in Malaysia will gradually get better and exports will be resumed soon.

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