Tighter supplies of staple meat deal new economic blow amid trade row with US
DALIAN, China — An outbreak of African swine fever is tearing through China’s pig stocks, and there is no end in sight. With concerns over pork supplies mounting, soaring meat prices could deal a fresh blow to China’s economy as trade tensions with the U.S. continue.
Pork is a staple in China, and authorities worry that a long-term rise in prices could lead to social unrest. The country’s consumer price index in April was up 2.5% from the previous year and at a six-month high thanks to soaring pork prices. Prices rose to 15.1 yuan per kilogram in late May, up from 11.9 yuan per kilogram in late February. China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs predicts that pork may be 70% more expensive in the second half of 2019, and that the CPI could rise 3%.
Prices are surging due to falling domestic production brought on by the swine fever outbreak, higher tariffs on U.S. pork and uncertainty over when the epidemic will end.