China: Consumers see fruit prices soar because of weather and trade war

China’s consumers are struck by soaring fruit prices as poor domestic harvests and higher tariffs on US imports start having effect. The rising cost of apples, pears and water melons has fuelled consumer fears of inflation at a time when income growth is slowing in a cooling economy.

The average national wholesale price of Fuji apples - the most popular variety in China - rose more than 75% this week from a year ago, data from the Ministry of Agriculture showed.

Aksu apples and Korla pears sold at Jiangnan market – one of China’s biggest fruit and vegetable wholesale markets - jumped 90% and 60%, respectively, in May, according to Reuters calculations based on data from the market in Guangzhou city.

In April, the price of fresh fruits pushed the Consumer Price Index up by 0.22 percentage points. Extreme frost and hail hit major fruit producing regions last year, slashing stocks of staple fruits like apples, growers and traders said. Apple and pear production fell 25% and 20%, respectively, in 2018 from a year earlier, the Commerce Ministry said.

The shortage was compounded by a trade war with the United States, with oranges, cherries and apples among the US goods that China slapped with higher import tariffs last year.

According to, importers scrambling to find alternative supplies have pushed up prices for fruits from Europe and Africa.

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