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Weighty gains for stocks as pork rises

by 5m Editor
29 May 2007, at 8:14am

HONG KONG - Spiraling pork prices in the mainland have fanned prices of food and agricultural products as well as shares of companies listed in Hong Kong with no direct link to the sector.

Shares of China Yurun Food (1068), the mainland pork distributor and meat processor that is also a wholesale supplier to Hong Kong, hit a high of HK$9.52 Wednesday. They eased 0.85 percent to close at HK$9.37 Monday.

However, edible oil trader Aptus Holdings (8212) and edible oil refiner Hop Hing Holdings (0047) started the week with surges of about 30 percent.

Shares of CP Pokphand (0043), which mainly trades agricultural products as well as operate feedmills and poultry farms, also drove up 17.11 percent to close at HK$0.445.

Analysts said investors believe pork prices will continue to rise for at least six to nine months and that the increases will spill over into other food categories, causing speculative buying.

According to Ministry of Commerce data, wholesale pork prices in 36 major cities jumped 43.1 percent in the first three weeks of this month from a year earlier, or 17 percent up from March.

"Pork accounted for about 5-6 percent of the mainland CPI basket in the past but, with the price gains, it now makes up more than 20 percent," Chen Xindong, senior economist at BNP Paribas Securities, told The Standard.

With the surge in pork prices, economists said, inflation in the coming months will surpass the 3 percent target set by Premier Wen Jiabao in March.

The price increases came as Beijing was having initial success in inflation, with the consumer price index dipping to 3 percent last month following a 3.3 percent increase in March over a year earlier.

Inflation is now likely to rise above 4 percent in the coming months, said Goldman Sachs economist Liang Hong in Hong Kong. Food accounts for a third of the CPI basket.

Source: The Standard

5m Editor