Pig Shortage Will Push Prices Skywards

CHINA - Traders are feeling the heavy hoof of growing pork prices for the second time since December.
calendar icon 9 January 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

A shortage of pigs from the mainland led to the 40 percent surge, which pushed the price per 100 catties (about 60 kilograms) to HK$1,800, up from HK$1,300.

There were 3,671 live pigs available from the mainland yesterday, 10 percent fewer than usual.

The leading supplier of live pigs, Ng Fung Hong, supplied just 2,800 pigs yesterday, 500 fewer than usual, according to Hong Kong Pork Traders' General Association vice-chairman Hui Wai-kin.

He called the tight supply "very extraordinary" and speculated that the shortage might be in part related to internal operation problems at Ng Fung Hong.

No one from the company was immediately available for comment yesterday.

Last month, the city's main supplier changed its policy of quota system and started selling pigs to the highest bidders. This provoked pork traders to boycott the company. The pork price then went up HK$300 to an average of HK$1,600 per 100 catties.

Tightening supplies

Meanwhile, representatives from an association for fresh meat traders said the tight supply was also owed to the growing demand of pork before the lunar new year, thus pushing prices up.

They added that if the live-pigs supply gets back to a sufficient level soon, traders won't raise the retail price.

However, Hui said that the soaring pork prices have upset vendors.

A vendor in the Tin Wan wet market surnamed Tsoi bought one less pig than usual for today's business, saying the price was too high. He added that the retail price would be raised by about HK$5 to HK$42 per catty today, and expects sales to plummet about 40 percent.

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