Record crop yields likely to stem food inflation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 December, 2011, 12:00am


The mainland's grain output rose 4.5 per cent this year to a record 571.21 million tonnes, with corn output beating expectations, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The bumper harvest will help ease inflation after record corn prices drove pork and egg costs to new highs. It marks the eighth consecutive year of growth in grain output, the bureau said in a statement on its website yesterday.

The world's second-largest corn consumer produced a record 191.75 million tonnes of the crop this year, up 8.2 per cent from last year's harvest. Market analysts had predicted a harvest of between 180 million and 185 million tonnes.

The mainland's consumer price index (CPI) has risen more slowly in recent months after increasing by a three-year high of 6.5 per cent in July. October CPI growth eased to 5.5 per cent from September's 6.1 per cent.

The government has launched a slew of measures to fight soaring prices this year, with Premier Wen Jiabao declaring inflation public enemy No1 and saying that curbing price rises is the government's top priority. China National Radio yesterday quoted Li Guoxiang , a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Research Institute of Agricultural Development, as saying that the harvest would help the government battle inflation amid economic turmoil in the US and Europe.

'It [the harvest] is of great significance in regard to our efforts to achieve overall price stability and to consolidate our achievements in macroeconomic adjustment and control,' Li said.

Rice production increased 2.6 per cent to 200.78 million tonnes this year, with wheat production up 2.4 per cent to 117.92 million tonnes, the bureau said, citing subsidies - at 141 billion yuan (HK$172 billion) this year - and favourable weather conditions as reasons for the healthy harvest.