Food, which makes up nearly a third of spending by Chinese consumers, is spiking the most. Pork — a mainstay in the Chinese diet that is already under pressure because of a devastating pig disease — skyrocketed a staggering 116% compared to a year ago. Vegetables were 17% more expensive. Other items saw modest price rises by comparison: Health care was 2.3% more expensive, for example, while clothing prices rose 0.6%.
The statistics bureau acknowledged the role coronavirus played in causing prices to surge. In a statement, it attributed the increase to the outbreak and to the Lunar New Year holiday, which was observed in January this year instead of February, like it was in 2019.