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Ho Chi Minh City's biggest pork wholesale market

Update: January, 27/2014 - 10:00
Everyday there are about 5,000 pigs sold to traders and transported to smaller markets at Tan Xuan wholesale market in Hoc Mon District of Ho Chi Minh City. Photo Tri Thuc

HCM CITY (VNS) — Every day at Tan Xuan wholesale market in Hoc Mon District of Ho Chi Minh City, about 5,000 pigs are sold to traders and transported to smaller markets in the city.

Pig traders call the market an "exchange floor" because it is like a stock exchange, except that the commodity traded is slaughtered pigs. The wholesale market provides 55 per cent of the city supply of pork.

Around midnight, pigs halved at slaughterhouses are transported to the market in refrigerated trucks. When they get to the market, traders hang them head-down from the ceiling of their registered kiosks. Buyers come to the market to compare prices before making a selection. The price of pork in each transaction cycle depends on supply and demand in retail markets.

Nguyen Hoang, a long-timer pig trader at the market, says the price of pork goes up and down in one transaction cycle, just like the stock market. If fewer slaughtered pigs are transported to the market in the next cycle, the price goes up. But on days when many pigs are slaughtered, the price goes down and those who buy a lot of meat suffer losses.

After agreeing on a price, traders either sell the whole pieces to smaller traders on the other side of the market or cut the halves into smaller pieces to sell for retail.

"I've witnessed many people having to sell the pork they just bought at a loss, or else no one would buy from them," he said. "It's business. The misfortune of one is the fortune of another."

For instance, he said, the price of pork could be VND53,000 (US$2.5) per kilogram at the beginning of the transaction cycle, but it could drop to VND 47,000 ($2.2) at the end of the cycle.

"Once a trader makes an offer, he pays for tens of tonnes of pork. Even if the price fluctuates by only VND1,000, he could lose tens of millions of dong," he said. — VNS

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