BIZCHINA> China Statistics
Food prices down for fifth straight week
(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-05-15 08:17

The price of food in major cities has fallen for the past five weeks in a row, the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday.

Of the 58 food items monitored last week in 36 principal cities, 31 have seen their prices fall, while 22 have become more expensive, the ministry said.

Water melons saw the biggest drop, of about 20 percent compared with a week earlier, due to increased supply. Vegetables were an average of 10.4 percent cheaper, as more local produce entered the market.

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The price of pork, one of the biggest factors in inflation, dropped 1.8 percent.

Beef and eggs were among the risers, with each of their prices going up by 0.8 percent.

Overall inflation was reported at 8.5 percent for April, down slightly from the 8.7 percent record high in February.

The rising cost of food, especially pork, has been the influencing factor behind the inflation figures.

The price of pork has risen 70 percent since last year as a result of reduced supplies, caused by pig diseases and farmers' rising costs.

The supply is improving, however, the Ministry of Agriculture said on Monday.

Zhang Baowen, vice-minister of agriculture, said at a national teleconference that the country's total number of farm pigs grew by more than 10 percent last month.

On large-scale farms, the figures were up more than 20 percent from last April.

Over the past year, the government has paid 2.8 billion yuan ($400 million) in subsidies to pig farmers.

Beijing housewife Wang Hua said she is glad to see food prices falling, as she can now afford to buy her favorite balsam pear, and is no longer forced to eat only Chinese cabbage.

"Last month, it cost 7 yuan per kg, but now it is down to 3 yuan, which is much more affordable," the 52-year-old native of southern China said.

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