The recent rises in the price of food in Beijing will continue until the end of this year to early next year, top officials from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics predicted yesterday.
"Although it has had no obvious economic impact, the price fluctuation has greatly affected the lives of poorer people in Beijing," said Yu Xiuqin, spokeswoman and vice-director of the bureau.
The average annual disposable income of Beijing's poorest urban residents in the first nine months of this year was 4,600 yuan (US$560), only 2 per cent higher than the figure for the same period last year, according to Yu.
In comparison, the richest group had an annual disposable income of 27,200 yuan (US$3,300), 24 per cent up from last year. Yu stressed that the municipal government has adopted measures to enhance the standard of living of low-income groups.
Farmers' annual income was 6,140 yuan (US$740), an increase of 10 per cent on last year.
Other measures for the same period (January-September 2004) included:
Beijing's gross domestic product was 297 billion yuan (US$36 billion), up 13 per cent. This was 0.8 percentage points lower than that of the first quarter. "The economy returned to more stable development compared with the high-speed growth witnessed earlier this year," Yu said.
Fixed asset investments reached 153 billion yuan (US$18 billion), 16 per cent up on last year. The growth rate dropped by 21 and 6 percentage points respectively compared to the first quarter and first half of this year.
Beijing's international tourism market continued to climb out of the doldrums of last year's SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak. Around 2 million overseas tourists visited Beijing, an increase of 82 per cent. The figure nearly recovered to 2002 levels (95 per cent of the figure for the equivalent period).
The total export volume of local enterprises reached US$7.2 billion, 38 per cent higher than last year.
(China Daily October 15, 2004)