BEIJING, April 17 (Xinhua) -- China is expected to see pork prices continue to rise in the second quarter of this year, the country's agriculture ministry forecast Wednesday.
Average wholesale prices of pork came in at 19.48 yuan (about 2.9 U.S. dollars) per kg in March, up 6.3 percent on a monthly basis, ending a declining streak since the outbreak of African swine fever last August, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs told a press conference.
The figure in March saw a 2.1-percent increase from the pork prices recorded before the outbreak of the disease and jumped 7.6 percent year-on-year.
Affected by the African swine fever, the stocks of hogs and breeding sows slumped 18.8 percent and 21 percent year-on-year, respectively, in March, the latter of which reached its largest decline over the past 10 years, said Tang Ke, an official with the ministry.
Tang said the possibility of a dramatic increase in pork prices in Q2 is small, considering the increasing supply of frozen pork and relatively stable seasonal consumption.
"A rapid rise in pork prices is likely to appear in the second half of the year with the further decline of pig supply and the rising demand during holidays," Tang noted.
Growth in pork prices is expected to exceed 70 percent from the previous year in H2 based on experts' primary estimates.
Farmers are encouraged to raise more pigs under better disease control so as to meet market demand and stabilize pork prices, the ministry said.