China Urges Families to Keep Stocks of Daily Necessities Ahead of Winter

By Reuters
November 2, 2021 Updated: November 2, 2021

Chinese authorities have told families to keep daily necessities in stock in case of emergencies, after COVID-19 outbreaks and unusually heavy rains caused a surge in vegetable prices and raised concerns about supply shortages.

The Ministry of Commerce said local authorities should buy vegetables that can be stored well ahead of winter and also strengthen emergency delivery networks according to a statement released on Nov.2. Households are also encouraged to stock up on daily necessities in advance.

The lack of explanation about the directive stirred concerns on social media sites inside China. Some think it may have been triggered by heightened tensions with Taiwan, while others said people were rushing to stock up on rice, cooking oil, and salt.

“As soon as this news came out, all the old people near me went crazy panic buying in the supermarket,” wrote one user on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

Local media has also recently published lists of recommended goods to store at home including biscuits and instant noodles, vitamins, radios, and flashlights.

In response to the growing speculation, The Economic Daily, a Communist Party-backed newspaper, told netizens not to have “too much of an overactive imagination” and that the directive’s purpose was to make sure citizens were not caught off guard if there was a lockdown in their area.

Authorities have imposed stringent lockdowns and travel restrictions to contain the recent COVID-19 outbreak stretching from the northwest to the northeast of the country threatening to disrupt food supplies.

In addition, heavy rains in early October destroyed crops in Shandong, the country’s biggest vegetable growing region, pushing vegetable prices that continue to rise.

Last week, prices of cucumbers, spinach, and broccoli had more than doubled from early October. Spinach was more expensive than some cuts of pork at 16.67 yuan ($2.60) per kg, a vegetable price index in Shouguang, a trading hub in Shandong, indicated.

Although prices have eased in recent days, economists expect a significant year-on-year increase in consumer price inflation for October, the first in five months.

The Epoch Times Staff contributed to this report.