(Yicai Global) Sept. 18 -- China plans to release pork from the country's central reserves this week in a bid to keep a lid on rising prices in the run-up to the week-long National Day holiday at the start of October.
The China Merchants Reserve Commodity Management Center, which holds the nation's meat reserves, will auction 10,000 tons of frozen pork to the market tomorrow, it said in a statement yesterday. Buyers will be able to bid for up to 300 tons each and must use the meat to immediately boost market supply.
Despite an epidemic of African swine fever that has decimated hog stocks and jacked up pork prices this year, the National Development and Reform Commission said today that prices are stabilizing. The average retail price in 36 large and mid-sized cities rose just 0.28 percent a day between Sept. 11 and 17, it said, adding that the mean price even fell by 0.22 percent on Sept. 14, during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The country's top economic planning agency will continue to closely monitor changes in the prices of staple foods and will intervene to keep them stable if necessary, NDRC spokesperson Meng Wei said at a press conference. It expects prices to remain stable over the National Day holiday.
The cost of pork jumped 46.7 percent last month from a year earlier, and 23.1 percent from July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That had a knock-on effect on the consumer price index, which climbed 2.8 percent in August.
Local governments in China have already started releasing their own pork reserves in provinces heavily affected by the swine fever outbreak, which began in August last year.
The provincial food and strategic reserves administration and finance department of Guangdong released 1,260 tons of pork last week ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival to help families celebrate the three-day weekend without breaking the bank. Jinan in Shandong province also sent 1,500 tons of frozen pork to market on Sept. 12 at CNY16.2 (USD2.29) for 500 grams, about CNY10 less than market rates before the addition.
Pork supplies have continued to tighten since the lethal hog disease outbreak began and live pig stocks fell 9.4 percent last month compared with July, or 32.2 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said at a press briefing on Sept. 11.
Editors: James Boynton, Emmi Laine