BEIJING -- China’s coldest winter in nearly three decades sent vegetable prices soaring and drove inflation to a seven-month high in December.
Consumer prices rose 2.5% from a year earlier, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday, up from 2% year-on-year growth in November.
Rising inflation could restrict China’s ability to stimulate growth if its tepid recovery loses momentum.
Higher food prices also worry the Chinese government because of their impact on social stability. Chinese households spend more than 20% of their income on food, more than three times as much as U.S. households, according to the American Enterprise Institute.
China has been battered by a deep chill in recent weeks that has killed off livestock and ruined crops.
Vegetable prices rose 17.5% from November, contributing to 57.5% of the consumer price index’s growth last month.
"Many places saw their temperatures drop to historical lows," Yu Qiumei, a senior analyst for the statistics bureau, said in a statement. "Frequent snow in the north and rainy and gloomy weather in the south impacted the production, transportation and sales of vegetables."