Chinese beef about the price of pork

CHINA - Few things are as essential to the Chinese as their pigs. From spare ribs to barbecued pork buns, pork is a staple of the Chinese diet. And, in this Year of the Pig, an acute shortage of pork has been national news as butchers raise prices almost daily and politicians scramble to respond.
calendar icon 12 June 2007
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`The most recent statistics from the agriculture ministry show that prices for live pigs rose 71.3 percent in April from March.'

Steep increases for pork loins and bacon are the most tangible sign that, after a decade in which prices have fluctuated but not moved significantly upward, inflation is creeping back into China. In response to this pressure at home, Chinese companies are starting to raise prices for exports, removing what has been a brake on inflation in the West.

With the global economy expanding at a robust pace, prices are rising in fast-developing countries like India and Mexico and central bankers and investors are becoming concerned. Interest rates are inching up in the US and Europe as lenders demand that borrowers pay more to offset the erosion of buying power over time.

Business executives say that with wages rising 10 percent or more a year in many Chinese cities, the country's days are numbered as the world's lowest-cost producer of many cheap labor-intensive products, like toys and shoes.

Source: Taipei Times

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