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Pork Belly Prices In South Korea Sharply Rise

By March 3, 2017 at 12:46 am
Per capita pork consumption in South Korea increased 22 percent in the last five years, according to the Korea Rural Economic Institute. (Photo : Getty Images)

Rising demand and falling supply led to a 19 percent rise in prices of pork belly meat in South Korea, according to data released Thursday.

As of Feb. 28, the retail price of pork belly meat edged up 18.7 percent from the average year price to 18,766 won per kilogram, according to data compiled by the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp. The average year price is the median of prices for that day over the last five years.

The corporation cited the rising consumption of pork meat, a drop in supply due to a decline in the number of slaughtering days and the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) for the increase in price.

Butcheries in South Korea opened for fewer days in January because of the Lunar New Year holidays late that month. 

Prices of meat in South Korea have risen since this year's first outbreak of FMD. For the first time in seven years, the government has issued the highest watch against the FMD virus. In 2010, almost 3.5 million cows and pigs infected with FMD were culled during a six-month period.

A total of nine confirmed FMD cases have been reported throughout the country since the first outbreak on Feb. 5. Many pigs and cows have been culled as a result.

Industry observers said the increase in meat prices were due to psychological reasons, with some distributors beginning to stock up on meat in preparation for the full-fledged spread of the disease that affects cows, pigs, and sheep.

South Korea depends on the US and Australian imports for over 50 percent of its beef needs. However, more than 90 percent of the country's pork consumption is sourced locally.

Consumption of pork in South Korea has also been increasing with changing eating habits and the people's growing meat intake.

Last year, per capita pork consumption reached about 23.3 kg, a 22 percent gain from 19 kg five years earlier, according to data from the Korea Rural Economic Institute. 

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