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Beef Prices Rising in Hong Kong

29 April 2013

HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s fresh beef prices shot up in 2012 and do not show any signs of slowing down in 2013, according to the USDA.

The consumer price index (CPI) for beef last year rose 19.1 per cent compared to 2011, ranking at the top of CPI growth rates among all food items.

In stark contrast, another key staple meat for Hong Kong consumers – pork – had its average price rise only 3.7 per cent between 2011 and 2012, the USDA analysts said.

Hong Kong’s live cattle supplies rely entirely on China, and therefore the great demand for live cattle in China’s domestic market has been the driving force for the rising prices of fresh beef in Hong Kong.

The substitution effect has come to play as a result of rocketing prices.

Between 2008 and 2011, live cattle supplies were in the region of 28,500 each year.

But supplies dropped to 26,035 head in 2012, declining 10 per cent compared to 2011.

Supplies were maintained at an average of 71 head each day. However, in early 2013 there was another sharp drop in cattle imports.

Supplies in the first two months in 2013 amounted to only 3,061, a decrease of 31 per cent compared to January – February 2012 and on average imported only 51 head of live cat

tle from China.

Consumption price data in China confirmed that beef prices soared tremendously in the past year when compared to overall food products and other types of meat such as pork and mutton.

Fresh, chilled and frozen beef each have a different target market. Fresh beef has always been a major staple meat for Hong Kong households, with some consumption in Chinese restaurants. Chilled beef from the U.S., Canada and Australia are primarily used in high-end steak houses.

The rising fresh beef prices have triggered some substitution to frozen beef, particularly for the catering industries.

 

 

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