China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose by an average of 2.8 percent from a year earlier in the first 11 months, on track to meet the CPI target of 3 percent set by the government.
The CPI rose 4.5 percent year on year in November, expanding from 3.8 percent in October, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The hike in CPI was mainly driven by food prices, which grew 19.1 percent year on year in November. Pork prices rose 110.2 percent year on year, contributing 2.64 percentage points to the 4.5-percent CPI growth.
Consumer prices were stable in November, but increased prices of pork and some other products indicated that structural challenges are still notable, said Guo Liyan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research.
With the stronger consumption demand and the need for substitutes, the prices of beef, mutton, chicken and duck registered month-on-month increases in November, ranging from 1.3 percent to 4.3 percent, said NBS senior statistician Shen Yun.
As the production and transportation costs of vegetables climbed in winter, vegetable prices edged up by 1.4 percent month on month, Shen noted.
Non-food prices gained 1 percent year on year last month, 0.1 percentage points higher than that of October. Prices of healthcare and education, culture and entertainment increased by 2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively.
With the consumption upgrading and growing demand for and expenditure on high-quality service, education and healthcare, the stable increase of non-food prices will be a long-term trend, said Tian Guoqiang, dean of the Institute for Advanced Research of the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.
EFFORTS TO STABILIZE SUPPLY
Meanwhile, as government measures at the national and local levels to restore hog production started to take effect, soaring pork prices driven by African swine fever and cyclical factors have softened in recent weeks.
The pig herd across 400 counties monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs rose 2 percent month on month in November, the first rebound since November 2018, said Yang Zhenhai, an official with the ministry.
The number of breeding sows continued to rebound for the second consecutive month, registering a month-on-month increase of 4 percent, according to the ministry.
The month-on-month growth rate of pork prices in November was 3.8 percent, down 16.3 percentage points from October.
The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) will actively expand the imports of high-quality meat and release meat reserves to meet the consumption demand during the upcoming New Year and Spring Festival holidays, said MOC spokesperson Gao Feng.