Beijing sees consumer inflation soar on back of swine fever epidemic
The National Statistics Office (NBS) publishes the latest data on the Chinese economy. The Retail Price Index touches the highest figure since November 2013. The cost of pork increased by 69.3% on an annual basis. The epidemic pushed up prices for beef, chicken, duck and eggs.
Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In September, consumer price inflation in China accelerated with the fastest pace in almost six years: the African swine fever (ASF) epidemic has pushed up pork prices almost by 70%. This is what emerges today from the latest official data on the Chinese economy.
Beijing has gone so far as to draw on national pork reserves to contain its prices. According to observers, the emergency risks becoming a political and economic liability for the Party.
The National Statistics Office (NBS) reports that last month the Retail Price Index (CPI) - key indicator for inflation - touched 3% from 2.8% in August 2019: it is the highest figure high since November 2013.
According to the British consulting firm Capital Economics, the increase is caused by food price inflation, in particular the interruptions in the supply of pork. In September, the cost of the latter increased by 69.3% on an annual basis, says NBS.
To curb the spread of the virus, Beijing claims to have killed about one million pigs since the discovery of the first outbreak of swine fever in August 2018. Experts say, however, that the Chinese government has downplayed the figure. The epidemic has also pushed the prices of other meats, including beef, chicken, duck and eggs, to a maximum of plus 19%.
Meanwhile, producer prices continue to fall for the fifth consecutive month, due to weakening demand and increasing trade tensions with the US. NBS analysts report that the Producer Price Index (PPI) - an important barometer for the industrial sector - contracted by 1.2% compared to 2018.