Ample frozen pork inventories in China will help to contain pork prices, an agriculture ministry official said on Tuesday.
State reserves have been boosted with imports and commercial stocks, said Yang Zhenhai, director of the ministry’s animal husbandry and veterinary bureau, as Beijing comes under pressure to secure supplies ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday in late January.
China’s pig herd has shrunk by at least 40% this year because of outbreaks of African swine fever, pushing pork prices to record levels.
After high pork prices pushed up China’s consumer price index (CPI) by 3.8% in October, the most in almost eight years, Beijing took measures including inspections of cold storage facilities and the release of pork from state reserves.
China’s pork prices fell 20% in November before rising again this week as consumption increased with colder weather while supplies remained short in the world’s top consumer of the meat.
Pork imports will be stepped up in the fourth quarter, Yang said in a statement published on the ministry’s website, adding that supplies would also increase because pigs sent to slaughterhouses had been raised to higher weights on good profits.
Sufficient inventories at cold-chain logistics businesses, slaughterhouses and wholesale warehouses, as well as higher poultry, mutton and beef output, will also help to contain pork prices, Yang said. (Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton Editing by David Goodman )