Global demand raises imported pork prices

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Global demand raises imported pork prices

Hit by rising demand for European and South American pork in China that led to reduced supply in the global market, Korea saw the retail price of imported pork surge as much as 33 percent from a year earlier.

Lotte Mart, a retailer that mostly sells pork from Mexico, said imported pork cost 12,000 won ($10.5) per kilogram as of Sunday, up 33 percent year- on-year. Imported pork at HomePlus, another retail chain, sells at 13,000 won per kilogram, pricier by 20.4 percent from the same period a year ago. E-Mart sells the meat at 18,000 won on average.

A spokesman from E-Mart said the retailer is making the minimum amount of margins, as it has been refraining from raising the price of pork, which often symbolizes the middle class in Korea.

The price hike follows rise in the import prices of pork. The import prices of frozen samgyeopsal, or pork belly, averaged 7,072 won per kilogram as of September, the last time the data was compiled by Korea Customs, up 8.1 percent year on year.

Pork-loving China, following recent pork shortages owing to the government’s efforts to maintain supply-demand balance and rising domestic prices, has been rushing to import pork from the United States and elsewhere. The country consumes half of the world’s pork and is expected to import a record 2.4 million metric tons this year, triple the 761,000 tons of 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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