China's poultry prices bounce back from H7N9

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Prices commanded by poultry products have risen significantly this week, following government subsidies to prop up the sector as it struggles in the wake of the H7N9 bird flu virus, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) announced on Friday.

The price per kilo of dressed chicken hit 13.51 yuan (2.18 U.S. dollars) on May 15, up from an annual low of 12.97 yuan on May 12, but the figure was still 4.2 percent lower than the same time last year, according to data from MOA.

The number of transactions in the poultry sector from May 6 to May 12 increased 25.6 percent from the equivalent period in April, but they were still down 67.2 percent year on year, the data showed.

The price rebound is the result of central government subsidy initiatives that involved pumping 600 million yuan into major poultry-processing companies and breeders nationwide to stabilize the industry, said Bi Meijia, MOA chief economist.

Aside from the subsidies from the central government, 10 provinces including Henan, Shandong and Guangdong have issued beneficial policies to ease the pressure on poultry breeders.

Since late March, authorities have closed many poultry markets in eastern China to curb the spread of the H7N9 virus and many consumers have stayed away from poultry products due to fears of being infected by the deadly virus.

According to the China Animal Agriculture Association, the country's poultry industry has suffered losses worth more than 40 billion yuan since the outbreak of the virus.

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