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MOC: Pork Prices to Remain High at Year End

Domestic prices for pork, the country's staple meat, would remain high due to increased consumer demand at the year's end, the Ministry of Commerce said in forecast on Wednesday.

Demand for pork usually surges as meat processors prepare for the approaching New Year's Day festival. Also, people in some regions have a custom of making salted pork at home for the New Year, which could also drive up pork demand.

The price of pork almost doubled this year before starting to decline from mid-August to mid-October. However, prices have rebounded since.

The wholesale price rose 1.4 percent last week over the previous week in advance of the coming festival. It was the 11th consecutive week in which pork prices rose.

The wholesale price of beef also rose 1.4 percent in the same week, while that of mutton was up 0.6 percent.

Prices of cooking oil rose 2.0 percent last week, with peanut oil up 2.4 percent and bean oil up 2.0 percent.

The ministry said bean oil prices were expected to stabilize, albeit at high levels, as consumers held off purchases due to recent price rises.

The price of grain went up 0.2 percent last week. The ministry said the increase largely reflected expanded demand of processing enterprises that are preparing for the holiday.

It also said wheat supplies would improve with more national stockpiles released into the market. Supplies would increase even further since the country had scrapped export rebates for 84 farm products including wheat.

Huge rises in food prices like grain, pork and cooking oil lifted the consumer price index (CPI) to an 11-year high of 6.9 percent in November, well above the government's 3 percent target.

(Xinhua News Agency December 27, 2007)

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