Pork price hikes drive up related food costs

By Hong Chau, Anh Minh   November 19, 2019 | 11:15 pm PT
Pork price hikes drive up related food costs
Pork prices have risen 19 percent since last November. Photo by VnExpress.
Pork prices have surged following the African swine flu outbreak in Vietnam, driving up prices of related food in supermarkets and restaurants.

Over the last two months, the prices of pork products at many supermarkets and food stores in Ho Chi Minh City rose 5-25 percent, a VnExpress survey has found.

For instance, the price of pork sausages has risen from around VND120,000 ($5.2) to VND150,000 ($6.5) per kilogram, and that of higher-end sausages from VND150,000 ($6.5) to VND210,000 ($9.1).

Hoa, the owner of a food store in HCMC, said that over the past week, all suppliers have announced price increases of VND3,000-20,000 (13-86 cents) on each kilogram of pork, forcing her to adjust prices accordingly.

"Many merchants have advised me to buy in bulk now and store the pork because prices will rise even further as demand rises and supply dries up," Hoa said.

Similarly, restaurant owners in HCMC have raised the prices of rice and noodles dishes with pork as an ingredient, which on average cost around VND30,000 ($1.3), by VND2,000-5,000 (9-22 cents) each.

"I can’t raise prices too much or it will shock my guests, so I have to do a balancing act of cutting smaller portions of pork, finding cheaper suppliers," said Hue, a restaurant owner in Go Vap District, HCMC.

Vietnam has had to cull 5.9 million pigs infected with African swine fever since the beginning of the year, equivalent to 337,000 tons of pork, according to Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development.

This has resulted in pork prices rising by 19 percent since last November, and could rise by a further 10-15 percent by the end of this year with an expected shortage of 200,000 tons, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

While the consumer price index in November is forecast to reach 0.8-1 percent, pork alone is expected to contribute 0.75 percentage points to this increase, GSO officials said at a government meeting urgently called Monday to find ways to limit the surge in pork prices.

At the meeting, the government assigned the Ministry of Industry and Trade to monitor and forecast upcoming pork shortages every month, so that the government could import enough quantities to ensure balance in demand and supply and control prices.

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