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Chinese pork prices tumble as seasonal boost falls flat

Pigmeat prices are falling in China at a time when demand normally spikes – adding to concerns that large producers may be expanding too rapidly.

Wholesale prices slipped to 21.77 yuan per kg (EUR2.82/kg) in the week to February 4 – some 10% down on this time last year. Prices have now fallen for three consecutive weeks despite the imminent onset of the Chinese New Year holiday – a peak consumption period.

The Chinese commerce ministry said some of the steepest weekly falls were seen in Shanghai, Hefei and Harbin provinces – down 4.3%, 3.8% and 3.6% respectively.

The average price paid by large slaughterhouses for pigs has also plummeted in recent weeks – sliding to 13.07 yuan/kg on February 9, according to industry website Soozhu.com. This is down by 24% from 17.12/kg at this time last year.

Latest Chinese pigmeat prices

Farmers are reportedly rushing to sell pigs amid fears that prices could fall further once the holiday season is over.

China is hoping the introduction of a new live hog futures index, approved by the country's regulatory authorities this week, could help tackle volatility in the pork sector. Some critics believe the new index may prove hard to implement because of a lack of standardisation when it comes to pig breeds and farming techniques.

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