The wholesale price of eggs has risen by 30 percent, with further increases likely as temperatures continue to fall, according to traders.
A carton of eggs recently sold for SR 110 but rose to SR 147 and then SR 160. Traders believe the price will rise to more than SR 167.
Local newspapers reported on Monday that the price of a tray of 30 eggs rose from SR 12 to SR 16 in a two-week period. The price of one egg was SR 0.47 in the last quarter of 2012 compared to SR 0.36 in the last quarter of 2011, and then jumped to SR 0.50 in 2013, according to reports.
Abdul Lateef of Lama Center, a leading bulk trader of eggs, said that traders are not raising prices. He said farmers have been setting prices.
The price fluctuation during winter is common, says Ibrahim Khalil of egg trader Sada Cold Store. He said prices will continue to rise until the summer holidays when consumer demand falls and production rises.
Poultry prices have remained stable on local markets.
Many Jeddah eateries have increased the price of an egg sandwich to SR 2. It was SR 1 for nearly three decades. It first rose to SR 1.50 and then settled at SR 2. Most local eateries are keeping prices low because they use smaller eggs compared to those sold on larger supermarket shelves.
The price of eggs in the Kingdom has also been affected by global factors including the rising price of soya, maize and other poultry feed.
There are five different breeds of hens that lay eggs in Saudi Arabia including Lohmann, largely used in Jeddah and western region, and Hyline and Hisex used in Riyadh and Qassim regions. Lohmann hens produce fewer eggs in winter compared to other breeds.
Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of poultry and eggs in the Middle East and is self-sufficient in egg production. The Kingdom also exports eggs to neighboring countries. The farms in Qassim, Makkah and Riyadh area cater for over 74 percent of the Kingdom's needs. There are over 500 poultry farms in the country, producing about 900 million eggs a year, according to data from the poultry industry.
The price of eggs is not the major concern for many Asian and other foreign workers who run small kiosks and eateries in the city. They are more concerned about the SR 2,400 a year levy proposed by the Ministry of Labor for every foreign worker at a company over the government's Saudization quota.
Ashraf of Bofia Hala in Safa district, who sells over 700 sandwiches a day, says he is worried about the fee.