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Rising Korean Pork Supplies Pressure Prices

11 October 2012, at 10:22am

SOUTH KOREA - Following Korea’s Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) outbreaks and subsequent culling in 2010, the national pig herd has grown quickly, rising from 7.3 million head in June 2011, to 9.4 million in 2012, reports Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)

However, Korean consumption of domestic pork has reportedly been unable to keep up with the increased supply, putting downwards pressure upon prices.

Average wholesale prices for pork at the end of September 2012 stood at KRW2,802/kg (A$2.47/kg), while prices in June almost reached KRW6,000/kg (A$5.15/kg) (HKJM).

Late last month, the wholesale price for pork actually fell below the price for chicken – a rare event in the Korean market. In the first nine months this year average pork prices were at KRW4,482/kg (A$3.81/kg) compared to KRW6,573/kg (A$5.78/kg) during the same time last year. The Chosun Ilbo reported that pork belly prices in Korean retailers fell below KRW1,500 (A$1.32) per 100 gram for the first time in five years.

According to the Korea Rural Economic Institute, pork production will continue to rise until the first quarter next year, with ongoing low pork prices increasing competition for Australian red meat. The Korean government, however, recent stated this it would buy up to 36,000 pigs during the next three months to prevent the price from falling further.

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