Anger over 10pc jump in wholesale live pig price

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 July, 2007, 12:00am

The row between pork traders and suppliers escalated after Hong Kong's major supplier of live pigs raised prices by 10 per cent yesterday, just two days after traders threatened to break the supply duopoly.

Ng Fung Hong, which supplies over 80 per cent of Hong Kong's live pigs imported from the mainland, said yesterday that it was raising prices with immediate effect 'based on the current supply situation within the mainland and to satisfy Hong Kong's market demands'.

The company raised charges by HK$130 to HK$1,300 per hundred catties yesterday, taking the total price increase since the end of May to HK$210.

Consumers may have to pay more than HK$30 a catty for pork as a result of the latest rise.

Hong Kong Pork Trader General Association vice-president Hui Wai-kin said consumers would have to dig deeper into their purses and the business of fresh pork traders would also be affected.

'The present price is about HK$28 to HK$30 per catty and it will jump up to HK$32 to HK$34 per catty,' he said. 'Not only will the consumers have to pay more, our business will be badly affected too. It could go down by 10 to 20 per cent.'

Ling Wai-yip of the pork trade's coalition, the Fresh Meat Alliance, was outraged.

'If you put prices up by that much, at least ensure that supply is adequate,' he said. 'Supply of live pigs [to Hong Kong] is still only at 70 per cent of normal levels of supply and even that is not enough.

'Market stalls selling pork are now closing around 5pm or 6pm. If [suppliers] put up prices by HK$500, it will only come from our pockets and the government has no control.'

Mr Ling yesterday reconfirmed plans for a protest by up to 300 pork traders on Monday as a last resort. Trucks would converge on the Chinese Resources Building, where Ng Fung Hong has its headquarters.

'We are only business people and we do not want to resort to these measures. We just want the government to step in so that all parties can sit down and talk through the issue.'

Yesterday the supply of locally raised pigs was 730, while 3,800 pigs were imported. That was 230 more than on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said last night that the price increases of mainland live pigs had affected the price of pigs supplied to Hong Kong. The bureau would monitor the developments closely, he said.

Hogging the limelight

The number of mainland pigs imported into Hong Kong yesterday: 3,800