Commerce Minister Chen Deming has urged commerce departments at
all levels to ensure enough supply of products during public
holidays such as Spring Festival and the Beijing Olympic Games.
"Our top priority is to ensure sufficient supply of major
commodities, such as grain, edible oil and meat products," Chen
said at a national commerce working conference concluded on
Local departments should watch market fluctuations of major
commodities closely to prevent an all-round rise in prices, and
governments at all levels should pay special attention to the needs
of low-income families and college students, he said.
Departments should forecast prices to help consumers and step up
production to ensure market supply.
Sale of consumer goods in the country surged 17 percent to reach
8.9 trillion yuan ($1.22 trillion) last year.
The increase is more than the national output growth and is
significantly higher than the growth rate of consumer goods' retail
sales in 2006, which was 13.7 percent and reached 7.6 trillion yuan
Chinese consumers spent more on their daily necessities such as
pork and edible oil last year because of price hikes, with the
consumer price index (CPI) remaining high.
Official statistics show edible oil, pork and beef prices jumped
58 percent, 43 percent and 46 percent year-on-year in 36 large- and
medium-sized cities in early January.
The country has a reserve of 22 products in 23 provincial
regions to ensure enough market supply. A primary market
supervision network covering 22 distribution industries and 600
consumer goods is in place, too.
Last week, the government moved to prevent prices of key
household commodities such as grains, edible oil, meat, milk, eggs
and liquefied petroleum gas from rising as people began shopping
for Spring Festival, which starts on February 7. It was the latest
in a series of moves the government has taken since July to check
(China Daily, Xinhua January 21, 2008)