Pork prices continue to rise past record of 2008
Pork prices have continued to surge on the mainland after surpassing 2008's record high in the middle of this month, putting even greater pressure on already high inflation.
The average wholesale pork price across the mainland was close to 25 yuan (HK$30) a kilogram last week, nearly 70 per cent higher than a year ago, according to Ministry of Commerce figures released yesterday.
The average price of pigs sold for slaughter reached 19.26 yuan per kg yesterday, up about 85 per cent from a year earlier, according to data from soozhu.com, an industry website that monitors prices from 3,000 sources around the country.
For many shoppers, the price of pork is one of the things they watch most costly for a gauge of inflation.
During the week of June 6-12, the average wholesale price for fresh pork was 22.52 yuan per kg, higher than in 2008, the ministry said.
High prices have prompted panic buying by pig traders, who have been travelling wherever prices are slightly lower, said Feng Yonghui, an analyst at soozhu.com.
'They first went to central provinces such as Henan and Hubei to buy pigs, but in the past few days they have flocked to northeastern provinces where prices have eased a little,' Feng said.
Jiang Zhenyun, head of an association of pig farmers in Changchun, Jilin, said the number of traders from southern provinces coming to the city to buy pigs had more than doubled in the past couple of days.
'Five days ago the local price of pigs sold for slaughter was 20 yuan per kg, and three days ago it dropped to 18 yuan,' he said. 'Then all the southern trucks arrived.'
Soaring pig prices have triggered dramatic price rises at retail markets, too. He Lukui, a chef at a textile factory's canteen in Jiaxing, Zhejiang, said pork cost about 10 yuan per kg more than last year.
'Normally we have pork on our menu every other day,' he said. 'Now we have reduced it to once or twice a week.'
Feng Wei, a pig farmer in Jining, Shandong, said prices soared after many farmers quit raising pigs in the past year out of frustration with rising costs and frequent outbreaks of disease. 'In 2005, when I entered the business, corn was just 90 fen per kg, but now it's more than 2.40 yuan per kg,' he said. 'The business has become more risky, with diseases emerging frequently, so many small farmers have quit.'
Feng Yonghui, the analyst, said prices would probably peak this week and remain high for the next few months. 'The normal cycle for price drops and rebounds is three years.'