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China's pork prices will continue to rise

by 5m Editor
16 July 2007, at 8:46am

CHINA - Pork will continue to be expensive in the latter half of the year as supply shortfall can hardly be eased in a short period of time, said a senior Chinese trade official.

"If disasters or epidemics occurred, there would be further price hikes in regions affected," said Huang Hai, Assistant Minister of Commerce.

Pork wholesale prices polled by the ministry in 36 large and medium-sized cities averaged 18.57 yuan per kilogram on 11 July, up nearly 30 percent from the 14.25 yuan on 11 May. The average retail prices for lean pork has exceeded 22 yuan per kilogram.

The price of pork plummeted in the first half of 2006, and pig raisers slaughtered their sows and piglets to avoid further losses, Huang said.

What aggravates the situation is the outbreak of blue-eye diseases earlier this year in major pig production bases. As the disease, also known as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, often causes miscarriage, many farmers feel reluctant to replenish their livestock farms with more sows despite the price hikes.

The total live pigs in stock in May dropped 15 percent to 20 percent year-on-year while the sales of sows declined by 20 percent to 30 percent year-on-year in June, according to a joint survey made by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce.

Huang said that the rising global prices for corns and feedstuff also increased pig breeding costs while floods might destroy roads and indirectly hamper pork distribution.

"Normally, it will take half a year to complete a pig breeding cycle and make more pork available on markets. That is why it's so difficult to make a turnaround in supply-demand relations," Huang said.

To cope with the situation, the trade departments of six provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Jilin, Tianjin, Shandong, Shanghai and Henan have signed cooperation protocols on pork production and distribution.

Huang assured the public that the government is capable of securing pork supply. Local commerce, agricultural and economic planning departments have been urged to stage an overhaul on local pork reserve.


Source: ChinaDailiy

5m Editor