Pork prices in China jumped 69.3% in September from a year ago as the country continued to battle a shortage of the meat that followed an outbreak of African swine fever.
Last month’s surge in pork prices was higher compared to the 46.7% increase seen in August, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics. That pushed up food prices in China by 11.2% in September, accelerating from the previous month’s 10% gain.
That increase in pork prices have been a major driver in the overall increase in China’s consumer prices. In September, the country’s consumer price index increased 3% year-on-year in September — the highest in nearly six years, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, factory prices, measured by the producer price index, fell by 1.2%, reported Reuters.
Economists polled by the news agency had expected consumer prices in China to increase by 2.9% in September, and producer prices to fall by 1.2%.
China is the world’s top producer and consumer of pork. As the meat is a staple in the Chinese diet, a spike in prices over the last year have hurt the wallets of many consumers in the world’s second-largest economy.
Chinese authorities called increasing pork supply in the country a “major political task,” Financial Times reported last month. They have responded with measures such as consolidating pig farms and releasing pork from its strategic reserves, noted analysts from consultancy Capital Economics.
“But there are few signs that these measures have been effective: pigs continue to die in large numbers and pork price inflation is accelerating,” the analysts wrote in a report last week.
As much as half of the country’s hog population was estimated to have died from the protracted swine fever outbreak, which was discovered more than a year ago. China’s pig herd could halve by the end of this year, according to a July forecast by analysts at Dutch bank Rabobank.