Chicken rice: Singapore’s cooks suffer an unclucky setback


A “chicken rice crisis” has sparked gastronomic panic for a lot of Singaporeans this yr. The de facto nationwide dish of the city-state consists of poached, ideally contemporary, rooster on a mattress of rice. This has been scarce since Malaysia halted rooster exports in June. The ban is predicted to elevate later this month, in keeping with Reuters, however a fast enchancment to provide is unlikely.

Chicken is essentially the most extensively consumed meat in Singapore. The restricted land space of the island means it imports practically all its provides, a 3rd from its neighbour Malaysia. For many years, that proximity has meant that each month 3.6mn stay chickens have crossed the border, albeit not voluntarily.

Malaysia can be one of many world’s largest customers of rooster. It has been hit by a extreme scarcity ensuing from world provide issues, rising enter prices and clumsy state intervention in markets.

Hopes that chook consignments to Singapore will resume have bolstered shares of rooster suppliers. Lay Hong is up 15 per cent yr so far, QL by 8 per cent and CCK Consolidated by 5 per cent.

Chicken costs are strictly managed by the Malaysian authorities. That limits scope for poultry corporations to revenue from sharp spikes in demand. Meanwhile, feed costs have soared due to the Russia-Ukraine warfare. The Malaysian ringgit is at a five-year low. Input costs will proceed to rise.

After home customers have extracted their pound of poultry, Malaysia has a surplus of lower than 10 per cent, about half of the historic ranges. Food inflation hit over 6 per cent in June, the largest enhance in over a decade. That means the federal government could tighten value controls. Further export bans can’t be dominated out.

Longer time period, Singapore ought to search safety of rooster rice provide by way of buying and selling ties to different neighbours. Poultry is Thailand’s largest meals export. The quantity rose a tenth final yr to a file 4.6mn tonnes. Shares of native producers, together with Thaifoods Group, are up 1 / 4 prior to now yr.

Singapore’s cooks could must embrace chilled chickens rather than stay or recently-deceased birds.

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