No fresh beef will be available in markets today after traders yesterday refused to buy from Hong Kong's sole meat supplier. But a long-term shortage was averted after the traders and the supplier - Ng Fung Hong - reached an agreement yesterday. The snap boycott was triggered by a 50 per cent drop in the cattle supply, which has sent the wholesale price soaring more than 30 per cent, according to meat traders. Yesterday morning, about 30 meat traders who get their supplies from Ng Fung Hong and sell it to butchers in wet markets and supermarkets across the city, refused to buy the meat at the slaughterhouse in Sheung Shui. The boycott came after Ng Fung Hong, which imports cattle from the mainland, rejected the traders' demands to increase the supply. Traders were told that the supply had been reduced because of transport and quarantine problems on the mainland. 'Over the past few months, the supply of cattle has been reduced to 70 head a day from about 140. The supply is not enough,' said Chung Siu-kai of the Hong Kong Cattle Slaughter Trade Association. 'Due to the insufficient supply, [the wholesale] price has been pushed up to $1,600 per dan [50kg] from about $1,200, but the retail price remains unchanged. Our livelihood is badly hit.' Ng Fung Hong was not available for comment on the dispute, however, the supplier reached an agreement with traders late yesterday afternoon. The merchants said they would resume work this morning after Ng Fung Hong promised the supply of cattle would increase to 180 head today, and return to 140 in future. Meat traders said that because of the snap boycott, there would be no fresh beef in local markets today. Last night, a spokeswoman for Wellcome said there would be no fresh beef in its outlets today. But shoppers could switch to chilled beef from Australia and frozen beef from Mongolia. She said it would have little impact on turnover, because fresh beef accounted for less than 10 per cent of fresh meat sales in their outlets. A housewife said there would not be a problem because the supply of fresh beef would be stopped for a day, and consumers could switch to chicken and pork.