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China insures 45% of sows nationwide to ease pork shortage
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China insured 44.5 percent of sows nationwide by Nov. 23 as a way to ease a pork shortage and curb the rising price of China's staple meat, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).


The CIRC said more than 21.24 million sows have been covered, with insurance fees totaling 21.6 billion yuan (2.9 billion U.S. dollars).


The top insurance regulator authorized five domestic insurers last August to undertake a pilot sow insurance scheme for pig breeders in response to the short supply of pork fueled by feedstuff price hikes and outbreaks of the blue-ear pig disease.


The insurance covers losses from blue-ear disease and natural disasters such as floods, fires, typhoons and other epidemics.


The price of pork, which almost doubled this year before starting to decline in mid-August, rebounded 54.9 percent in October, according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics.


Analysts say the higher pork and food prices pushed up the consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, to 6.5 percent year-on-year in October, the same as in August, when the CPI rise reached an 11-year monthly record.


"As winter sets in, demand for pork and other food products is increasing by a large margin, so food prices went up in October," said Yao Jingyuan, chief economist with the NBS.


Bi Jingquan, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission said in September that the short supply of China's live pig would not change "fundamentally" until the second quarter next year.


(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2007)

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