Consumers pay as prices jump

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6. Corn

Corn prices started to surge in March this year.

In April, the price increases reached such a point that the NDRC and the State Grain Administration launched a corn stockpile auction to calm the situation.

Relevant government agencies implemented a number of polices in the following months to cap the price hikes and crack down on speculation.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, China's corn output was projected at 169 million tons, increasing 3.1 percent year-on-year by the end of 2010, alleviating expectations of price surges.

7. Cotton

Cotton prices have been growing since the spring, with increased demand and reduced output contributing to the situation.

Rapid price increases occurred in August. Higher raw material and labor costs have put a great strain on the entire clothing industry, with numerous small and medium-sized companies pushed to the brink of bankruptcy.

In September, the price of cotton cloth was reported to have increased by more than 20 percent, and cotton futures jumped to an historic high.

8. Vegetables

Variable weather in major production areas means vegetable prices have been rising since the beginning of the summer.

Propelled by seasonal increases, prices have surged significantly since November, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce.

In the first 10 days of November, average wholesale prices for 18 types of vegetable in 36 cities surged 62.4 percent year-on-year, said the ministry.

9. Sugar

Sugar surged to more than 6,000 yuan a ton in 2010, compared with no more than 4,000 yuan a ton for last few years. Rapid increases were seen in the autumn.

Hikes were mainly attributed to soaring prices in the international market, reduced domestic processing and speculation, according to industry insiders.

10. Chinese Medicinal Herbs

More than a quarter of medicinal herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine have increased in price by between 50 percent and 100 percent in 2010, according to a report released by the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine in November.

For a small group of herbs, the increase has been more than 300 per cent, said the report. Concerns have been raised over the growing cost of traditional medicine, and pharmaceutical companies were reported to have stopped producing Chinese patent medicines due to the high costs.

Bad weather, rising demand and speculation were regarded as the major reasons behind the hikes.

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