Panic Buying Sweeps China, ‘Zero COVID’ Policy Worsens the Situation | Food prices soaring

Panic Buying Sweeps China, ‘Zero COVID’ Policy Worsens the Situation | Food prices soaring

Panic Buying Sweeps China, ‘Zero COVID’ Policy Worsens the Situation | Food prices soaring

In recent days, panic buying has swept across many places in mainland China. The reason is that on November 1, China's Ministry of Commerce issued a notice, stating: “Families are encouraged to store a certain amount of necessities to meet the needs of daily life and emergencies”. The notice did not specify what the contingency was, but it caused anxiety among the public. So people in many places responded to the government's call to purchase and hoard living supplies. Videos circulating on the Internet show people snatching up rice and flour, with some buying 300 kilograms of rice at once. Some people rushed to buy vegetables, and some people bought pork half a pig at a time. Some people fought in the supermarket for goods, and others rushed to buy generators. The panic buying across China has driven up the prices of various food products. The prices of rice and flour have generally increased by more than 10%; the prices of cooking needs and condiments such as cooking oil, salt, sauce, and vinegar have generally increased by 10%-15%, with some increased by as much as 35%. Even though the Chinese authorities came out to stabilize everyone, folks have made various interpretations to the stockpile notice from the Ministry of Commerce. Some people believe the notice is related to the recent tense situation of the Taiwan Strait, suggesting that the Ministry of Commerce might be giving a hint that people should stockpile supplies in preparation for war. On November 6, the Australian news website News.com.au posted an article, saying that the supply stockpile notice, the armored vehicles in the city streets, and the notice for reserve veterans, seem to be a perfect combination of seemingly related events. It's no wonder that mainland China is flooded with claims this week that Beijing is about to invade Taiwan. However, it is also believed that the latest notification from the Ministry of Commerce is related to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, there is another interpretation of the Ministry of Commerce's notice. Overseas commentator Chen Pokong pointed out that the call for hoarding supplies is to stimulate domestic consumption.