Pork, a staple on Chinese dinner tables, is so important to China there's even a strategic reserve of the meat. It's a large slice of the consumer price index basket and a key driver of peoples' inflationary expectations. And prices are rising.
"China's inflation is mainly driven by food prices,'' said Wang Jianhu, an agriculture sector analyst with Great Wall Securities in Beijing. An "unprecedented'' supply fall is taking place in China's pig farms, meaning pork prices are set to surge, he said.
Still, in an economy beset by tepid demand and excess capacity, it may take more than pricier pork to save China's bacon from declining prices.
"Deflation, not inflation, is still the concern,'' said Wang. "It's impossible to change the overall picture by putting hopes on a single product, even if it is pork.''