Mainland authorities guaranteed yesterday to supply Hong Kong with at least 4,000 live pigs a day - enough to meet demand. But an academic warned there was little the government could do to stop price manipulation at auctions. Speaking in the Legislative Council, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the local Food and Health Bureau and the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing had reached consensus on two measures to stabilise prices and the supply of live pigs. 'The ministry has stressed they will make sure the supply of pigs to Hong Kong will be no fewer than 4,000 a day, which is enough to meet market demand,' he said. 'They will also inform the SAR government every day about the number of live pigs supplied to the city the next day so that the government can release information about the pig supply to the public.' The mainland would supply 4,700 live pigs today, with 200 to be supplied by local farmers. Mr Tsang said he also wanted to find out what happened on Tuesday when the wholesale price of live pigs shot up from HK$1,600 to HK$1,700 per 100 catties (60kg) to more than HK$2,000. Ng Fung Hong, the city's main pig importer, said supplies were disrupted by snow on the mainland, although this explanation was rejected by another supplier of live pigs. The Consumer Council will begin a study to better understand the market for live pigs to see if there is any untoward activity in the trade. A spokesman said: 'We will also look into the auction mechanism, the relationship between retailers and wholesalers, and how to enhance transparency of the market.' But he admitted it was not a formal investigation, as the council was not a law enforcement body and had no authority to conduct inquiries. Asked if the government would launch an investigation, the Food and Health Bureau said it was concerned about the possibility of any unhealthy activity in the market and price fluctuations. Leo Sin Yat-ming, a marketing professor at Chinese University, said there was little the government could do even if it uncovered price manipulation, as Hong Kong did not have a competition law. 'The government and the Consumer Council can only say a certain party is acting in an unethical way, if they find any evidence that can prove that. There is nothing they can do as there is no law to regulate that.' Ling Wai-yip, a spokesman for Fresh Meat United, which represents more than 500 live-pig dealers and pork vendors in the city, welcomed the Consumer Council study and called for a government inquiry. 'Some legislators and government officials have accused us of spreading false information about the pig supply in the hope of pushing up prices. This is really not fair. They should investigate to find out the truth if they cannot prove what they have said. We demand they apologise to us,' he said. A Food and Environmental Hygiene Department spokeswoman said 5,036 live pigs were supplied yesterday, compared with 3,576 a day earlier. Meanwhile, Chow Tak, the vice-chairman of the Kowloon Beef and Mutton Merchants Association, said 45 live cattle were imported from the mainland yesterday and the wholesale price ranged from HK$2,112 to HK$2,251. There was no fresh beef for sale yesterday because of a lack of supply.