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The great egg-flation



From the Publisher's Desk By Mar-Vic Cagurangan

First, there was Covid. Then, a war in Ukraine. And now, eggs? How did the breakfast staple suddenly find itself sharing the world headlines with tragic global events?


Eggs are suddenly shockingly expensive. A dozen eggs on Guam cost an average of $7.49, nearly double the median average in the U.S., which is $4.29.


According to the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans, egg prices on Guam went up 71.8 percent compared to the year before. So, in this case, hyperbole is acceptable.


That’s all we are obsessed with nowadays. We try to cope with the crisis by sharing egg memes on social media. The chicken is crossing the road, brandishing a Louis Vuitton purse “since the price of eggs went up.” Steve Carrell is holding a tray, which the captions says costs the same as a Tesla. There’s an open diamond ring box with an egg sitting in it.


But the humor can hardly alleviate the real pain assaulting our pockets. Eggs are just among the several items in the CPI basket. This poultry product draws special attention because it is supposed to be the most affordable commodity in the cold aisle that anyone can put in their cart. So, when lower-income earners can’t even have an omelet and even the middle class complains about egg prices, we scramble for answers.


We are fed with the basic supply-and-demand economic principle. For laymen, with little understanding of the complex economic theories, this is easier to digest. Its abstraction leaves no one to blame— other than the avian flu outbreak that decimated U.S. farms and affected 58 million chickens.


And in the absence of a poultry industry on Guam, local retailers have the convenience of pointing the finger at U.S. suppliers.


But the so-called “egg-flation” simply represents the overall grocery-price crisis that Guam consumers have to deal with.


On Guam, overall prices of consumer goods climbed 7.9 percent as the dollar’s purchasing power dropped $0.02, according to the BSP's CPI report. The consumer price index, which measures a wide-ranging basket of goods and services, showed an increase of 3.8 percent over the third quarter of 2022, and 11.2 percent higher compared to the same period one year earlier.


The food group index of 183.7 shows an increase of 3.2 percent over the preceding quarter and 10.4 percent when compared to the same period one year earlier. Electricity prices increased 12.8 percent over the preceding quarter and 72.7 percent when compared to the same period one year earlier. Our dollar is now worth 48 cents, according to BSP.


But elections are over and GovGuam has run out of federal funds to subsidize household expenses. The best it can do is look into—at the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist— possible price-gouging.


At a time when food prices are incredibly high and a great deal of Guamanians are struggling to afford their groceries, it is incumbent upon government regulators to examine the retail industry’s role in orchestrating high prices and hold those responsible accountable for their greed.



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