China’s pork prices rise at the slowest pace in more than a year

People wearing face masks move packs of vegetables at a wholesale market for agricultural products, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Beijing, China February 19, 2020.Tingshu Wang | ReutersBEIJING — China’s consumer price index rose slightly in September as food prices climbed, even with a drastic slowdown in the increase in pork prices.The consumer price index rose 1.7% last month from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. That figure was slightly below the 1.8% rise predicted by analysts in a Reuters poll, and below the 2.4% increase in August.Overall food prices remained elevated, up 7.9% in September from a year ago, with fresh vegetable prices climbing 17.2%.Pork prices climbed 25.5%, but at a slower rate than increases of over 100% seen for much of the last 12 months. Pork prices rose 52.6% year-on-year in August. September’s print marked the slowest pace of growth since June 2019, according to statistics bureau data.African swine fever has decimated swaths of China’s pig herds, leading to a shortage in the key meat staple for the country of 1.4 billion people.For the first three quarters of the year, China’s imports of pork more than doubled from a year ago, the national customs agency disclosed Tuesday. Imports of beef rose 38.8% during that time. China’s imports of U.S. agricultural products over the same time period climbed 44.4% from a year ago.The producer price index fell 2.1% in September from a year ago, greater than the 1.8% decline forecast by a Reuters poll.— CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this story.

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