A variety of fruit at a store in Shenzhen, China. During an experiment in the city last week, goods could be purchased with the digital yuan. Photo: Asia Times.

Earlier this week, the National Development and Reform Commission in China spoke at a press conference about the increasing price of fruit. The authorities blamed the abnormal weather and assured that the prices will fall when more fruit enters the market soon.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the PRC, fruit including Fuji apples, Kyoho grapes, pineapples, watermelons, banana and pears have increased by an average of 33.42% in the past six months. Among them, the price of pears rose by 88.25% and Fuji apples increased by 78.31%.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics also showed the price increase of fruit had a close correlation with the national consumption. From January to May, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 2.2% over the same time period of last year. At the same time, the price of fresh fruit increased by 11.3% compared to the same time last year.

In several fruit shops in Futian, the price of Fuji apples was reported to be 9.8 to 14.9 Yuan (US$1.4-2.1) per kilogram. The same kind of apples was sold for 8.8 Yuan per kilogram in the same area last year.

A substantial amount of fruit in Hong Kong is imported from Mainland China and the city has yet to see the price increases that China has experienced.

Which begs the question: What is going on?

In April, some of China’s key apple and pear production areas were hit with cold weather, which caused a reduction in production and led to a limited supply of fruit.

Recent data from Apple Futures AP1907 showed a low point of 10,626 Yuan (US$1,545) in January and the highest point of 14,685 Yuan (US$2,135) in May — meaning there was a 38.2% increase.

Li Guoxiang, a researcher at the Institute of Rural Development at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the production of fruit depends heavily on weather conditions. The focus should be on maintaining price fluctuations within a reasonable range, which requires guidance, regulation and supervision to maintain stability, he said.

With large volumes of fruit expected to be injected into the market, the prices of fruit in China will return to normal soon, he said.

This article was first published on ATimesCN.com and translated by Kamaran Malik.

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