(Yicai Global) Nov. 4 -- Due to a misunderstanding over a Ministry of Commerce notice urging families to stock up on basic items, there has been some panic-buying of rice, oil, vegetables and condiments in various parts of China.
Sales in the first two days of this month jumped 280 percent from a year ago, with those of rice and edible oil surging eightfold, according to data from Chongqing Yonghui Supermarket.
In response to the panic-buying, the Ministry of Commerce emphasized that supplies of daily necessities are fully guaranteed. Except for abnormal changes in the cost of a few goods caused by supply issues during one or two specific periods, prices of daily necessities have been stable in recent years, while any increases have been below average wage growth. China's Engel’s Coefficient -- an indicator of the proportion of income spent on food -- fell from 30.1 percent in 2016 to 28.2 percent in 2019.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China’s grain output was 670 million tons last year, the highest in the world. Output of vegetables was 721 million tons in 2019, showing sustained growth and making up more than half of global production. China's fruit crop was the biggest in the world again last year at 287 billion tons, accounting for over 30 percent of the global market.
The MARA said that supplies have been affected by recent heavy rains and cooler weather, pushing up prices of some agricultural produce and vegetables, but it stressed that prices will soon return to a reasonable range once normal supplies are restored.
During the pandemic, logistical problems have affected vegetable and fruit sales in certain regions, and efforts have been needed to avoid heavy losses for farmers. But even with cities and communities locked down in many places across the country, prices for basic items have remained stable, and supplies have been secured.
People should firmly believe that China will guarantee sufficient supplies of daily necessities, and even those few items that see temporary price spikes for particular reasons will soon return to normal. If people are concerned, they can stock up on daily necessities as needed, but it is completely unnecessary to buy large quantities or panic-buy out of fear of price increases or supply shortages.
Editor: Tom Litting