The price of pork, a staple of the Chinese diet, hit a new high in China this month due to rising costs and short supply, state media said on Tuesday, amid persistent concerns about soaring inflation.
Pork cost 27.67 yuan (US$4.30) a kilo last week, surpassing the previous peak of 26 yuan set in 2008, the China Daily reported, citing Feng Yonghui, an analyst with Soozhu.com, an online pig market monitoring service.
The cost of live pigs also surged to 18.57 yuan a kilo at the end of last week, beating the previous record high of 17.20 yuan reached in April 2008, he said.
“The price will keep rising till the end of the year,” Zhu Baoliang, an economist with the State Information Centre, a government think-tank, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
The price of corn, which accounts for around 60 per cent of pig feed, hit a record high in March, sending pig and pork prices skyrocketing in the following months, according to Feng.
He warned that price increases in pork, which accounted for 65 per cent of China’s meat consumption, risked sending the costs of grains and vegetables up as consumers seek alternatives to meat, the report said.
The government could try to curb pork price rises by freeing up supply reserves, Zhu said.
However, the effects could be limited given a general supply shortage after pig farmers slaughtered breeding stock last year due to low prices and diseases, he said.
Beijing has listed containing price rises, which have triggered bouts of unrest around the country, as the government’s top priority this year.
The consumer price index jumped to 5.5 per cent year on year in May — the highest since July 2008 and far above the official annual target of 4.0 per cent — as food costs soared on power shortages and droughts in some areas.