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Rising flour prices affect food staples in Shanghai
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The price of flour has recently increased by 10 percent, which will likely lead to price hikes on dried noodles and instant noodles next month. Some instant noodle suppliers have already informed supermarkets in Shanghai of the new cost measures and it is estimated that the supermarkets will change their price tags before the end of the year

The current wholesale price of flour is 1,780 yuan (US$240) per ton, up 150 yuan from the last count, which has contributed to the rising prices of flour products, said Zhao Zhiwei, secretary-general of the Shanghai Cereals & Oils Management Association.

The retail price of bagged flour has risen 0.2 yuan per kilogram since the National Holiday at the beginning of October, and bread prices have increased by 0.5-2 yuan in some bakeries. The continued rise of flour prices means the prices of other flour products will also be increased, according to an insider in Shanghai. The exact price increase has yet to be determined, pending negotiations between suppliers and supermarkets.

After a collective food price surge in China in June and July, the price rise of instant noodles became a hot topic among Chinese consumers. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) investigated the case in August and determined the World Instant Noodle Association China Branch and Chinese instant noodle enterprises had been complicit in manipulating prices.

Many wonder whether the upcoming price hikes will be a group action, but there are currently no definite replies from the big instant noodle producers. An insider from Uni-President said the price increase was still being discussed and it was too early to make a statement on this issue. 

( by Yang Xi, November 29, 2007)

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