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Snowstorm won't affect food prices 'heavily'
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Huang Hai, assistant minister of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday during a press conference that the snow storm influenced the nation's food price to some extent, but not "too heavily".

National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) figures revealed the prices of pork, egg and vegetables fell nationwide, while grain and oil prices remained stable in the snow-hit provinces of Hunan, Hubei, Guizhou and Henan on Wednesday.

"The price of vegetables will further decrease as the weather is getting warmer," said Huang, predicting that because of the losses from the snow havoc, the domestic edible oil price would be on the rise in the future.

Cole and other vegetables, oranges and wheat, in particular, suffered severely from the snow, according to the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

"The agricultural disaster relief project has made achievements and with the joint efforts of the whole society, the market supply can get back to normal in the near future," Zhang Yuxiang, chief economist with the MOA, said on Thursday.

The MOC, the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Communications held a supply and sale coordination meeting in the southern Hainan Province on Feb. 2. It was decided vegetables and fruit from Hainan would be provided for the snow-hit Anhui, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou provinces, among others.

Official statistics revealed that between Feb. 6 and Feb. 12, 170,000 tons of vegetables were shipped to 14 snow-stricken provinces, including Jiangsu, Hunan, Anhui and Guizhou, to ease a shortage of fresh produce and price increase pressures there.

Winter storms have plagued the country's south since mid-January, leading to widespread traffic jams, blackouts and crop loss.

According to the latest official statistics, snow-related catastrophes killed 107 people and caused 111.1 billion yuan (15.45 billion U.S. dollars) in direct losses. In all, 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have been affected.

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2008)

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