Pork prices in Hong Kong skyrocket as supply is strangled by African swine fever

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/22 19:03:40

The price of pork has continued to rise sharply in Hong Kong and many fear that this may further increase ahead of peak season next month, as both local supplies and those from the mainland have been strangled due to cases of African swine fever.

The skyrocketing prices even fueled speculation that the mainland, which is Hong Kong's main source of food and other daily necessities, might cut supplies as a secessionist movement continues to rock the city.

The average price of pigs at slaughterhouses in Hong Kong hit HK$4,254 ($542.50) on Wednesday, despite the supply of 1,249 live pigs from the mainland, according to daily data from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department. That more than doubled the average price of around HK$1,600 in May.

"The price of pork is now sky high," a Hong Kong resident, who only gave her last name as Zou, told the Global Times. She also noted that pork prices exceeded HK$100 per 500 grams, and that she had to pick relatively cheap, frozen pork.

And the price could rise further, as demand for pork is set to increase significantly next month, when many in Hong Kong and mainland residents will celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in mid-September. The average price for live pigs could hit as high as HK$5,000 during the peak season, according to some estimates.

A pork seller in the city's Sai Ying Pun Market attributed the rising prices to the rising cost of importing pigs. "The importing price is getting higher and higher," the seller told the Global Times.

Supply of Hong Kong's pork has been strangled by cases of African swine fever both in the city and on the mainland. Recently, a storage house in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, was shut down to be cleaned and disinfected after authorities detected the virus in the live pigs bound for Hong Kong. Hong Kong also had to shut down some slaughterhouses in June for disinfection.

As anti-government protesters in Hong Kong have angered many, some in Hong Kong reportedly fear that the mainland may cut supplies of food as a way of showing the city's reliance on it. There is no known evidence for such speculation.

However, Hong Kong relies on the mainland for food and other supplies. The mainland supplies 94 percent of fresh pork, 100 percent of fresh beef, 92 percent of vegetables and 66 percent of eggs in Hong Kong, according to Hong Kong's Food and Health Bureau. In addition, the city relies on the mainland for supplies of electricity, gas and fresh water.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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