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Price of Pork Keeps on Rising

The price of pork has kept on rising in major cities despite the implementation of a new national policy to increase the supply of live pigs.

In Guangzhou, capital city of south China's Guangdong Province, the wholesale price of live pigs was a record high 16.08 yuan (US$2.11) per kilogram yesterday, 2 yuan up in a week.

It forced sellers to raise the price of pork to 22 yuan per kilogram from 20 yuan. The price early last month was 18 yuan.

Other meat prices have also seen an increase from 28 to 32 yuan per kilogram. Last week, it was between 26 and 28 yuan.

"This has never happened before in the last 10 years I have been doing business," said a retailer surnamed Tan at a wet market in Guangzhou.

"People have become more reluctant to buy pork now. Sales have dropped by more than 30 percent," he said.

The situation is the same in other mainland cities, including Beijing and Shanghai.

Some had forecast pork prices would stabilize this month, but this looks unlikely.

The forecast now is that prices will not level out until the end of the year.

"Supplies will not get back to normal because of a shortage of sows and piglets. It will take at least another six months, the general manager of Guangzhou's Jiahe live pig wholesale market, Li Guibing, said.

The high prices of feed and corn have hit farmers who are raising fewer pigs.

The outbreak of blue ear disease that killed at least a million pigs last year, and more than 18,000 in the first five months of this year, has also affected supply. Guangzhou has been especially badly hit.

The death rate of pigs while being transported has gone up due the hot weather, Li said.

The Ministry of Finance announced financial subsidies for pig farmers last month. Each will receive 50 yuan a year for every sow they raise.

(China Daily July 4, 2007)

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