Increased supplies of pork helped rein in prices of China’s most-consumed meat in December, ending a three-month acceleration in inflation that had taken the consumer price index (CPI) soaring above the government’s 3% target ceiling, reported Caixin.
The CPI, which measures the prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, rose 4.5% last month year-on-year, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Thursday, the same rate as in November which was an eight-year high. The index has been driven higher for months by surging pork prices caused by a nationwide outbreak of African swine fever.
December’s inflation rate, which was slightly lower than the median estimate of 4.6% in a Caixin survey of economists, has more than doubled from 1.9% over the past year as the swine fever epidemic devastated China’s hog population leading to a shortage that sent wholesale fresh pork prices surging to a peak of RMB 52.3 ($7.5) per kilogram in November from RMB 19.2 a year earlier.
The CPI growth in December was mainly driven by food prices, which rose 17.4% year-on-year and accounted for 3.4 percentage points of the inflation rate, NBS statistician Shen Yun said in a statement. Pork was responsible for most of the increase, but with the pressure on pork supplies now easing as a result of government policies to boost imports, release reserves and encourage farmers to raise hogs, the worst of the price frenzy appears to be over. On a month-on-month basis, average pork prices fell 5.6% in December, compared with a 3.8% rise the previous month, NBS data showed.