A recent survey of 2,538 people across 29 Chinese provinces showed that the rise in food prices had overall a negative impact on people.
The survey, jointly commissioned by the China Youth Daily and Qtick.com, investigated the fallout from the rise in food prices, with 90.9 percent of respondents reporting they had been affected by the rise. 78 percent also claimed the rise had also had a negative influence on their consumption habits.
The unfettered soaring of food prices drove up the consumer price index (CPI) to 3.4 percent in May, the highest such rise in two years. However, warning bells have been sparked by the CPI staying above 3 percent for 3 consecutive months by May, above the central bank's warning line.
Ordinary consumers may not feel too concerned with the CPI index and the warning line, but they will certainly feel the pinch from local markets becoming more expensive.
Ministry of Commerce statistics put pork wholesale prices at 18.57 yuan (US$2.45) per kilogram on July 11 in 36 cities nationwide, up close to 30 percent from the 14.25 yuan seen on May 11. The average retail prices for lean pork have exceeded 22 yuan per kilogram.
In Beijing, eggs were a further concern leaping to 9 yuan per kilogram last week, 25 percent higher than that of just a few months ago. Jinlongyu soybean oil costs 49.9 yuan per five liters, an increase of eight percent from a few months ago.
The government would soon take measures to alleviate rising food prices and their impact on low-income people, said an official at the pricing department of the National Development and Reform Commission last week.
On July 3, the Lanzhou municipal government ruled that a regular bowl of beef noodles should never exceed 2.50 yuan, an attempt to minimize the impact on people's living costs.
Criticizing the local government, China's top economic planner and national media slammed the Lanzhou authority as breaking market rules.
However, 81.9 percent of respondents supported the Lanzhou government's decision to cap the price of beef noodles, a feeling particularly seen among lower earners.
(China Daily July 17, 2007)