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South Korean government to check odd beef prices

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Staff Writer | February 16, 2017
South Korean beef
Food in Korea   The producer price of hanwoo stood at $39.80 per kilogram

The South Korean government is set to look into a widening price gap between the wholesale and retail prices of local beef.

The producer price of Korean beef, known as hanwoo, stood at 45,252 won ($39.80) per kilogram as of Tuesday, down 26.7 percent from four months earlier, according to the government's livestock data.

Such a drop, however, has barely affected its price at supermarkets, as the retail price managed to slide 1.6 percent to 78,697 won in the same period.

"We plan to find out reasons why the consumer price isn't coming down as opposed to how its wholesale value's been falling since the anti-graft law came into effect," an official at the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.

The new anti-corruption law, in effect from September last year, is being blamed by the local livestock industry for hindering their business as it has put a legal limit on money people in certain professions can spend on gifts and free meals for hospitality purposes.

Hanwoo, for its high quality and price, is considered a very expensive gift and served as a main dish on special occasions.

The government said it will check whether there are any discrepancies in the distribution process and possible profiteering by distributors.

The outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in provincial areas early last week has also been adding woes to the local beef industry, pushing down its wholesale prices.

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