Pork prices heading back down

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am

Retail prices of pork are expected to fall today with a drop in yesterday's wholesale prices.

Wholesale prices of pork decreased to HK$1,600 per 100 catties yesterday from about HK$1,800 on Tuesday, Pork Traders General Association vice-president Hui Wai-kin said.

Meanwhile, pork distributors resumed buying livestock from main supplier Ng Fung Hong after representatives talked with the company.

Dozens of distributors boycotted Ng Fung Hong on Tuesday after the company suddenly switched from a quota system of allocation to an auction process.

After the meeting, Mr Hui said they had been told that Ng Fung Hong held the auction because the new supplier, the Hong Kong Agriculture Special Zone Development Association, did the same. The association started to import live pigs last month along with Ng Fung Hong and Guangnan Hong.

'Ng Fung Hong is just following the practice of the third agent,' Mr Hui said.

But Hong Kong Agriculture Special Zone Development Association vice-chairman Choi Chi-wai said: 'Our supply only accounts for 5 per cent of the market. How can we have such a big impact on the whole market?'

Mr Hui urged pork distributors not to bid exorbitant prices at auctions at wholesale pork markets.

There were 4,061 live pigs supplied yesterday, 109 fewer than on Tuesday.

Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok said the new supplier would affect the operation and sales practices of the original suppliers and called on the suppliers to adapt to the changes.

A spokeswoman for Guangnan Hong said it had asked Ng Fung Hong to sell its livestock to distributors on its behalf, and Ng Fung Hong was the one that decided the sales practices.

Yesterday, consumers paid HK$36 to HK$42 a catty at wet markets - up about HK$4 to HK$6.

At a wet market in Sha Kok Estate, Sha Tin, two out of five butcher shops were closed yesterday because of the boycott.

Meanwhile, officers of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department raided a shop in Sham Shui Po suspected of selling chilled pork as fresh pork.