BEIJING - Despite heavy snow in most of China's south, the country's consumer prices may grow 6.5 percent in January, roughly the same as the December rise, Chen Xiwen, Office of the Central Leading Group on Rural Work director, said on Thursday at a State Council press conference.
"The storms have had a severe impact on agricultural production, mostly in the south. The impact on fresh vegetables was catastrophic in certain areas," he told reporters.
"But considering most of the winter grain crops are grown in the north, the supply of grain, pork and edible oil nationwide largely remains intact," said Chen, who added oil crops in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River were "seriously" affected.
"As for the impact on the whole year's grain production, we still have to wait and see. We are not sure how long the storms would last or whether it would move to the north," he said.
"If the storms aggravate or expand, China's agricultural production would be affected seriously."
China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 4.8 percent in 2007, with food prices, especially pork, as the major cause of the increase. CPI figures are routinely released by the National Bureau of Statistics.