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Traders Warn of Continuous Rise in Pork Prices

by 5m Editor
22 September 2009, at 11:55am

HONG KONG - Pork retailers are under increasing pressure to raise prices as the surge in wholesale prices shows no signs of abating.

Two vendors said they paid about 10 per cent more for carcasses in the past month, with the price increasing from HK$990 per 100 catties (approx 50kg) in the summer to HK$1,100 over the past few weeks.

Wholesale prices are expected to rise by another 10 to 20 per cent, a pork traders' association has warned.

The warning came as Agricultural Ministry officials in Beijing said they are aware of increases in the price of pork and eggs over the past three months.

Pork prices have registered an increase of 30 per cent in the past four months, but are still 16 per cent lower than year-ago levels.

It is a similar story for eggs, reports The Standard.

A ministry spokesman said the increase might be related to the National Day celebrations and other seasonal factors.

There is no shortage of farm produce, he added.

Vendor Chan Chiu-kwan at Sam Po fresh meat shop in Bowrington Road Market, Causeway Bay, said wholesalers blamed the latest 10 per cent increase on a fall in the supply of pigs.

"I am afraid of losing customers so I have not yet increased the retail price.

"But if the situation continues, I may add HK$2 to HK$4 per catty." Chan is now selling pork at HK$28 per catty.

Butchers at Shau Kei Wan wet market said pork prices have risen by 10 to 20 per cent in the past few weeks.

Two stallholders there said the wholesale price for eggs rose 5 to 6 per cent to HK$340 for 360 eggs.

Shoppers told The Standard they have been buying less pork after noticing the price rise in the past few weeks.

A 52-year-old woman said she will buy more fish instead.

Pork Traders General Association deputy chairman Hui Wai-kin warned that pork wholesale prices will rise a further 10 to 20 per cent this winter.

Mainland prices have gone up 20 to 30 per cent since the end of July because of a short supply, but demand is unchanged, he added.

"Demand for pork will naturally increase in winter, so prices will have space to rise 10 to 20 per cent and will not fall during this period."

A Food and Health Bureau spokeswoman revealed that average auction prices had increased from HK$918 in June to HK$984 per 100 catty yesterday.

The government will continue to monitor the supply and auction price of live pigs and release daily price information to enhance market transparency.

But the pork price is market- oriented, the spokeswoman added.