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Pork prices rise for the first time in 10 weeks
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Pork prices rose once again last week after dropping for nine straight weeks, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday.


Wholesale pork price increased by 0.2 percent from a week earlier on average across the country, and rose by as much as 5.9 percent in some cities, the ministry said.


The average wholesale price hit 17.79 yuan (US$2.37) a kilogram on October 12, dropping 2.55 yuan from its peak price this year, the ministry said.


Pork prices in China have been soaring due to rising feed costs and blue ear pig disease, which has killed more than 70,000 swine this year.


Soaring pork prices are a major contributor to the general food price hikes that pushed up the consumer price index by 6.5-percent in August, the biggest monthly jump since 1997.


Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China's central bank, said on Tuesday that the bank regards CPI as a key criterion for interest rate increase.


China has raised its interest rates five times this year, the latest on September 15, as it tries to battle inflation.


The average wholesale price of agricultural products, including vegetable, grain and fruit, grew 0.9 percent in the week, the ministry said.


Vegetable prices jumped 7.6 percent in the period from a week earlier because of rainfall and the rising cost of storage and transport.


Fruit price grew 1.3 percent in the week, especially watermelon prices, which surged 15.7 percent.


The price of beef inched up 0.5 percent and mutton prices grew 0.1 percent on average, the ministry said.


The price of eggs dropped 0.8 percent and grain prices dropped 0.1 percent.


(Shanghai Daily October 18, 2007)


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