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China's poultry prices to rise as H7N9 wanes

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-14 11:01

BEIJING - Prices of poultry products in China could rise sharply as early as next month as the waning H7N9 virus helps consumers regain confidence in poultry meat and eggs, experts said.

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

Since the beginning of May the number of new infections has been decreasing, according to health authorities.

The new strain of bird flu, which has killed 33 people among 130 confirmed cases nationwide, has led to huge losses for the country's poultry industry and driven many farms out of business.

Due to the H7N9 virus, the country's poultry industry has suffered losses worth more than 40 billion yuan ($6.5 billion), according to the China Animal Agriculture Association.

"Many breeders in Shandong, a major poultry production province in eastern China, have reduced or killed all their breeding stocks in response to losses," said Cui Zhizhong, a professor at Shandong Agricultural University.

"In a couple of production cycles, poultry prices could go up sharply and this could affect the market order nationwide," said Cui.

He estimated that prices could go up in June or July.

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