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Gov't tries to maintain stable oil, grain prices
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Chinese grain and oil supplies are sufficient and the price of most commodities are experiencing a slight decline as the government exerts efforts to maintain price stability after the worst winter in decades.

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

The prices of green peppers were down 16.7 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, in Chongqing Municipality and Anhui Province on Wednesday compared with the previous day. Pork fell by as much as 6.7 percent in some weather-stricken areas, according to the statistics.

"The snow may have little impact on the overall market. Prices of vegetables and other farming commodities certainly will continue to come down as the weather warms," said Huang Hai, Ministry of Commerce assistant minister.

To make sure of sufficient grain supply and to maintain a stable grain price, the government has responded with a variety of measures. These included freezing prices on a slew of goods, to boosting farm subsidies and curbing the industrial use of corn.

Separately, the government is giving departments related to food supply a green light in a bid to revive the production of crops, livestock and poultry. Some regions have also launched emergency mechanisms to solve the problem of food shortage.

Transport departments have made a full effort to cooperate with other departments in rushing food to snow-hit regions to ensure supply and keep prices stable.

The central government allotted tons of state-reserved meat to the disaster-hit provinces of Guizhou, Anhui and Hubei during the recent Spring Festival, and delivered as much as 170,000 tons of vegetables to 14 provinces.

From January 25 to February 11, railways shipped 113,000 cars of food in grain, vegetables and fruits to disaster-hit regions.

To ensure corn supply in Jiangxi and Hunan provinces, NDRC and the State Administration of Grain (SAG), along with the Finance Ministry and China Grain Reserve Corporation, jointly allotted 12,600 tons of corn from the country's grain abundant southeast earlier this month.

Although prices of some commodities in a handful of remote areas were slightly higher due to bad transport conditions, market prices would not be affected on the whole, Huang explained.

(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2008)

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