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China to release more frozen pork from reserves

Beijing

CHINA will release more frozen pork from its reserves ahead of the upcoming New Year and Chinese New Year holidays, state-owned CCTV reported, citing the Ministry of Commerce.

This comes amid a huge shortage of meat in the country, after the incurable pig disease African swine fever killed millions of the country's hogs, and the pig herd shrank by more than 40 per cent.

China will also further increase its pork imports and diversify the import origins of the meat, Wang Bin, deputy director of the market operation department under the Ministry of Commerce said, according to CCTV.

The country will also release frozen beef and mutton in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities, the report said. Beijing has already released more than 100,000 tonnes of frozen pork from state reserves since mid-December, CCTV reported, citing the deputy director.

Analysts expect pork will remain in high demand as China prepares to celebrate the Chinese New Year starting on Jan 25, the peak consumption period for the meat.

During January to November, China's pork imports rose 57.9 per cent from a year earlier to 1.7 million tonnes.

China's consumer inflation rose to an eight-year high in November as pork prices doubled.

By Dec 18, retail pork prices were more than double from a year earlier at 50.99 yuan (S$9.85) per kg. REUTERS