May 5, 2009

South Korea sees rebound in pork prices after flu name change

South Korea's pork prices have recovered slightly after the government changed the name "swine flu" to A-H1N1" on Thursday (Apr 30).


Pork prices, which had plunged 25 percent in a four-day stretch, began to increase as of Friday (May 1), the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the Korea Swine Association said.


A 110kg pig was valued at KRW277,000 as of Thursday, but the value had increased 7.2 percent to KRW297,000 by Friday.


Value before the flu outbreak on April 24 was KRW371,000, and pork was reputed as a meat more expensive than imported beef.


The wholesale price of a kg of bone-in pork on Thursday was KRW3,745.5 but climbed to KRW3,925.9 by Friday. The price was KRW4,929.9 on April 24.


The flu was initially referred to as "swine flu" because it carries the virus strain from the swine flu. But it was found that the flu contained genetic components from swine, avian and humans, and that the virus is not being spread by pigs but by humans. Therefore, the World Health Organisation on Thursday officially changed the name to A-H1N1.


The decision was welcomed by South Korea's pork industry and the Agriculture Ministry, as the name change helped to dispel misconceptions and revive waning pork demand.

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