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The U.S. egg industry has an oversupply issue, and prices are so unprofitable that Cal-Maine, the biggest U.S. producer, posted its first net loss in six quarters.

But prices may be near, if not at, their lowest. Producers are losing money, and that’s going to force farms to make adjustments and shrink output, said Cal-Maine’s Chief Financial Officer Max Bowman.

“The market has got to react,” he said by telephone, adding that such low prices can’t go on long. “Hopefully, we’ve found a bottom, and we’ll begin to pick up a bit.”

The number of hens in the U.S. are near a record high, and they are more productive than ever. Average market prices fell by more than half from a year ago in the Southeast, Cal-Maine Foods Inc. said in a statement Monday. Prices could continue to see pressure through calendar 2019 if egg supplies continue their growth trend, the statement said.

Even with the dismal pricing of commodity eggs, Cal-Maine, the consolidator in the industry, hasn’t seen a big increase in opportunities for deals. However, the company has been in some deal discussions.

“We are seeing some possibilities, and it’s clear!


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