The cost of living in China has outstripped the 3% government target for the first time in a decade, and a big part of the problem is the soaring price of pork, which is being driven up by a widespread outbreak of African swine fever (ASF).
Pork is a big deal in China. The average Chinese person gets through about 30kg of pork a year (by comparison, people in US eat about 26kg of beef a year and UK consumers about 18kg). Since August 2018, when China notified the World Organisation for Animal Health that ASF was in the country, the disease has spread with extraordinary speed.
Some 40% of Chinese pigs – hundreds of millions of animals – have now been lost, and the result has been a chronic shortage of pork and rocketing prices. The Chinese government has been forced to dig into its gigantic emergency reserves of frozen meat.
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