|Staff Reporter |||Mar 25, 2020 05:45 PM EDT|
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China's top economic regulator expects the national pork prices to stabilize in the coming months as the country's hog production capacity and supply steadily recover. The National Development and Reform Commission told reporters during a news conference on Thursday that consumer prices are expected to stabilize as the industrial and agricultural sector ramps up production to meet demand.
Commission official, Peng Shaozong, explained that they expect China's consumer price index to fluctuate from high to low during the coming months given the current state of affairs. However, the fluctuations should be within a reasonable range.
Peng specifically pointed out that pork prices will eventually drop to previous levels in the coming months as the government's measures to boost production capacity takes into effect. The industry itself is showing signs of recovery following months of devastation caused by the African swine fever.
Last year, the epidemic managed to wipe out close to half of the country's hog production capacity, forcing it to resort to importation and other means of meeting domestic demand. Pork prices reached a peak of around 69.26 yuan per kilogram in mid-February in large and medium-sized cities across China. The NDRC stated that prices have slowly dropped and the average retail price for lean pork in China is now around 64.42 yuan per kilogram as of Wednesday this week.
Following the spread of the African swine fever, Chin had stepped up its efforts to combat the surging pork prices amid the low domestic supply. The government had imposed several measures that included the release of thousands of tons of frozen meats from the national reserve. Other measures included the increase of meat imports and the boosting of the production capacity of other alternatives such as poultry and beef.
During the country's Spring Festival holidays, the government released tons of frozen meats from its reserves for six consecutive weeks. China stated that it plans to release new batches to control pork prices until domestic production fully recovers.
The coronavirus epidemic has also managed to impact China's hog industry, forcing it to ramp up the release of its meat reserves. Over the past couple of months, the Chinese government had released close to 20,000 metric tons of frozen meats to the cities heavily hit by the pandemic, including the cities of Wuhan and other areas in Central China's Hubei province. Apart from the frozen pork and other meats, China had also released more than 16 billion yuan as subsidies for farmers and other people affected by the African swine fever epidemic.
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