Cao Xianli, the owner of a ‘ribs and rice’ restaurant in eastern China’s Qingdao city, is facing his biggest test in a decade of running the eatery, reported Reuters.
Not only have costs doubled in the last year because of soaring pork prices, but he’s not even sure he’ll be able to secure enough of the meat needed for his signature dish. “My concern is how much longer I will still be able to buy pork. If I can’t buy pork, I have to close my shop,” Cao told Reuters.
China’s rocketing pork prices come after a deadly disease ravaged its huge hog herd, leaving the world’s top consumer of the meat short of about a quarter of its usual supplies. That’s about 13.5 million tons, more than the entire pork production of the United States.
With pork by far the most popular meat in China, food inflation is running at its highest in almost eight years, surprising both seasoned economists and restaurateurs. “In the past year, both we and the market underestimated the pace of pork price inflation,” wrote analyst Lu Ting and colleagues at Japanese bank Nomura in an October report, revising up their forecast for inflation next year.