Mainland pork prices hit HK shoppers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2007, 12:00am


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Hong Kong shoppers were paying more for their pork yesterday after supplier Ng Fung Hong raised the wholesale price of pigs 8 per cent to HK$1,300 per 100 catties due to surging mainland prices.

The main supplier of live mainland pigs said the increase took effect immediately due to rising pork prices across the border that showed no sign of slowing.

'In order to ensure a stable supply to the Hong Kong market, Ng Fung Hong decided to increase the wholesale price of live pork by 8 per cent,' the company said.

The Food and Health Bureau said Ng Fung Hong had made a business decision to increase its prices to secure live pork supplies to Hong Kong at a time of rising mainland prices.

'We always keep close contact with concerned departments on the mainland and live pig importers. We also try to adopt effective measures and enhance market competition in a bid to stabilise live pork supply,' a bureau spokesman said.

'The price of live pork always adjusts according to supply and demand of the market.'

Live pork prices have risen 40 per cent this year. The retail price per catty was about HK$26 in January, but had risen to HK$32 by Monday this week and to HK$34 yesterday.

Kwan Kwok-wah, executive committee member of Fresh Meat United, a group representing Hong Kong's meat traders, was disappointed by the announcement, saying traders only got the news when they arrived at slaughterhouses.

'There is nothing we can do,' Mr Kwan said, adding that the company always increased the price without any advance notice.

Mok Yiu-nam, chairman of the Yuen Long Fresh Meat United Association, said prices would continue to rise.

'The demand for good live pigs on the mainland now is huge. If you can't offer a good price, you won't get any pigs at all,' he said.

'Added to this, the value of the yuan is rising. It's not only pork, prices of everything from the mainland are getting higher.'

Ng Fung Hong and Guangnan Hong were appointed by the mainland's Ministry of Commerce as the agents for shipments of live pigs to Hong Kong, controlling 80 per cent and 20 per cent of supplies respectively.

The duopoly is about to end, with Hong Kong Agricultural Special Zone due to be added as a third agent.

Secretary for Health and Food York Chow Yat-ngok said in Beijing yesterday that the government was arranging facilities for the new agent.

The October consumer price index on the mainland rose by 6.5 per cent - a 10-year high.

Meat prices, comprising about 4 per cent of the CPI basket, were up 38.3 per cent last month from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said earlier this month. Pork prices were up 54.9 per cent.

Forking out

Pork supplier Ng Fung Hong says it has raised prices to ensure stable supplies from the mainland

Yesterday, it raised the wholesale price per 100 catties to, in Hong Kong dollars: $1,300