Rise in wholesale prices could push fresh beef to HK$52 a catty

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2007, 12:00am

The price of fresh beef could rise to HK$52 per catty soon after Ng Fung Hong, the sole supplier of mainland cattle, decided to raise its wholesale price by 10 per cent.

No date has been fixed for the change, although Ng Fung Hong says it has reached an agreement with beef dealers on the increase to the wholesale price.

'In light of the high price of live cattle on the mainland, it is necessary to adjust the price of cattle in Hong Kong to satisfy market demand,' the company said yesterday.

'Both sides believe the adjustment will help stabilise supply.'

Chung Siu-kai, a director of the Hong Kong Beef and Mutton Merchants' Association, said retail prices would go up in line with Ng Fung Hong's adjustment.

He said fresh beef prices might rise to HK$52 per catty from about HK$48 now. Fresh beef sold at HK$36 per catty in June before a rise in wholesale cattle prices pushed it up to HK$40 per catty in July.

Supplies of fresh beef were cut off for three days in August because of a row between dealers and Ng Fung Hong.

The dealers then stockpiled livestock in protest at a shortage of supply, and called for the government to break Ng Fung Hong's monopoly.

Mr Chung said there was still a 10 per cent shortage in cattle supply as of yesterday.

But he supported the rise in the price of wholesale cattle, saying it would stabilise supply.

Fresh beef accounts for about 20 per cent of the city's beef market.

On Monday, the Ministry of Commerce approved a new exporter of live pigs for Hong Kong. The agency was set up by a group of local pig farmers unhappy with Ng Fung Hong's dominating position.

It is expected to compete with Ng Fung Hong and Guangnan Hong from March.

Beefing it up

Fresh beef per catty in June was HK$36. In July it was, in HK dollars, $40

In October it is, in HK dollars, $48