August 2, 2007


Foreign meat imports driving down prices of South Korean pork



Rising meat imports have caused a sharp fall in Korea's domestic meat prices, according to Jeju Island and the Jeju Agricultural Cooperative Federation, or Jeju Nonghyup, Tuesday ( July 31).


South Korea has imported 156,000 tonnes of pork from the US, Chile, Canada and France in the first seven months of the year, a 38-percent increase from 113,000 tonnes last year, the federation said. 


Beef imports was up 10 percent to 104,700 tonnes, compared to 88,200 tonnes last year.


The nationwide average price for 100 kg of pork was 237,000 won (US$256), a 12-percent drop from 269,000 won (US$290) in 2006.


The price of 100kg of pork produced on Jeju Island was 255,000 won (US$277) down from 303,000 won (US$329) last year. Pork prices on the island fell 25 percent just two days after supermarkets in South Korea began selling US beef. The island is the only self-governing province of South Korea. 


Moreover, a 9-percent increase in the number of live hogs being sent to the island for the first seven months of the year also pushed prices down further.


Farmers are being caught in a quandary of falling pork prices amidst rising feed prices. Most were rushing to exit the market before feed prices rise further thus prompting pork prices to further spiral downwards. 


Prices of US beef are similar to Korean pork, further fueling concerns that pork would be edged out of the competition.

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