China food prices spike as anti-virus effort disrupts supply

China's food prices jumped 21.4% over a year earlier in February as efforts to contain a virus outbreak disrupted supplies

Overall consumer prices rose 5.2% over a year ago, down from January's eight-year high of 5.4% but well above the ruling Communist Party's traditional annual target, government data showed Tuesday.

Pork prices, which have more than doubled over the past year due to an outbreak of African swine fever that disrupted supplies, rose by 9.3% compared with January. The government reported no year-on-year price increase.

The price of fresh vegetables rose 9.5% over a year ago.

The government has yet to announce this year's inflation target, but in previous years it has tried to keep consumer price increases below 3%.

The ruling party ordered local officials to speed supplies to markets.

The government is promising farmers subsidies and other aid, but industry analysts say China's pig herd won't return to normal size until next year.