FIGURES released by the Government yesterday show that industrial enterprises now take much longer to recover their capital because of poor sales of their products. The figures, released by the official Xinhua (New China News Agency), show that products of industrial enterprises are selling poorly and many of the items sit in warehouses for about 50 days before they are finally sold. The slow sales have deepened the enterprises' fund shortage problem, Xinhua said. Although stockpiling has been a problem for Chinese enterprises for many years, Xinhua said an extra 50 billion yuan (HK$45 billion) worth of goods was collecting dust in warehouses by the end of June compared to the beginning of the year. The situation deserved attention from relevant departments, Xinhua said. Quoting authoritative sources in Beijing, the agency said many of the short-term relief loans provided by the Government had failed to bail out industrial enterprises as the money was being tied up in the form of goods in warehouses. The poor sales were further affected by an increase in imports. Xinhua said many local producers of goods such as steel, chemical fertilisers and oil products were losing their market share to foreign imports. The latest figures coincided with reports that Beijing had reimposed price ceilings on most staple food items in a bid to rein in soaring prices across the country. The latest price control measures are a last-ditch effort by the leadership to keep inflation, which surged to 24.2 per cent last month, in check. The July figure was seen by analysts as an alarming signal that the year-old anti-inflation campaign by Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji may be crumbling. Official reports said economic figures released by the Government showed that food prices for city dwellers rose 31.9 per cent compared to the same period last year. Prices of grains jumped 57.8 per cent, while the price of vegetables soared 29.7 per cent. Ding Guangren, head of the Communist Party's Propaganda Department, admitted during a meeting with a Hong Kong media delegation that anti-inflation measures were now the number one task of the Government. But Mr Ding expressed optimism that the damage inflicted by the recent typhoons and floods would not worsen the inflation crisis and the Government was confident it could bring prices under control. ''We have grain reserves. Normal disasters are not going to affect [us] much,'' Mr Ding was quoted by the pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao as saying. His confidence was apparently prompted by the price control measures introduced by various local governments recently on most staple food items.