BEIJING, Nov. 2 (Xinhua) -- Vegetable prices in China are expected to rise in the coming months, putting pressure on the country's consumer inflation, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Saturday.
A commission statement said as cold weather affects production and demand increases during the new year and Spring Festival holidays, vegetable prices may rise during winter and spring.
Spring Festival, or China's lunar new year, is the country's most important holiday for family reunions. The next festival will fall on Jan. 31, 2014.
Rising vegetable prices will add pressure to China's consumer inflation, as food prices account for about one third of the country's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation.
In the first nine months, vegetable prices went up by 5.2 percent from a year earlier, the statement said.
The NDRC said supplies of vegetables is guaranteed, citing a slight rise in vegetable plantation areas monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Transportation of vegetables around the country will experience lower costs, thanks to government policies to raise the efficiency of logistics, the NDRC said.
In 2014, vegetable prices may continue to rise by a small margin partly due to rising costs of labor, the NDRC forecast.
To ensure market stability, the commission will intensify market monitoring and the release of information, lower transportation costs and raise investment in infrastructure related to the distribution of agricultural products.
China's September CPI rose from 2.6 percent in August to 3.1 percent, driven mainly by a rebound in food prices, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
The bureau is scheduled to release October CPI figures on Nov. 9.