China saw its last year's inflation rate rise 4.8 percent, the highest level in more than a decade, which may force the government to take further tightening measures.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday announced the yearly figure of consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, picking out food prices, especially the pork price, as the top propelling force.
Food prices ballooned 12.3 percent last year, driving up the CPI figure by 4.0 percentage points, said Xie Fuzhan, director of the NBS, at a press conference.
The average price of fowl and related products rose 31.7 percent in 2007 and the egg price increased 21.8 percent, Xie said.
In addition, he said, surging pork prices had kept the CPI figure above 4 percent since June. The bureau did not, however, break out pork prices separately in Thursday's report.
"The pork price was underestimated in 2006, which resulted in a sharp decline in pigs, especially sows. The shortfall was further aggravated by a pig cull following a serious outbreak of blue-ear disease last year," he said.
Soaring world commodity prices were another factor that helped drive the CPI to its highest level since 1997. For example, crude oil prices exceeded $100 per barrel for the first time at the beginning of this year, up from about $25 in 2003, and edible oil prices nearly doubled last year on international markets, Xie said.
It was necessary to "set China's inflation rate against a worldwide backdrop. India reported a CPI rise of 5.2 percent last year, Russia 9.4 percent, and even the United States is expected to have a 2.8 percent increase, and Europe has an average rise of above 2 percent," he said.