Caixin
Apr 03, 2020 10:30 PM
ECONOMY

China Dismisses Shortage Concerns as Neighbors Ban Food Exports

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What’s new: China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) moved to calm public nerves saying there was no need for consumers to worry about food shortages or rising food prices in the country, nor to stock up on goods.

“A lack of imports will not lead to a domestic food shortage,” a senior MOFCOM official stressed in a press conference Thursday, adding China is “self-sufficient,” in reference to the fact several of the country’s agricultural trading partners have banned food exports to shore up their stores amid coronavirus panic buying.

The context: Multiple countries have limited or banned agricultural exports in recent weeks, including Cambodia which shipped 40% of its rice exports to China last year, sparking concerns about impacts on the domestic market.

Vietnam, the world’s third largest rice exporter which delivers 15% of global rice trade in volume, stopped accepting new rice supply contracts from overseas on Saturday.

China consumed an average of 200 million tons of wheat, rice and corn each year but had more than 280 million stored, the MOFCOM official said.

China mainly imports animal feed while rice and wheat imports make up just 1% and 2% of domestic consumption, he said.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact reporter Lu Yutong (yutonglu@caixin.com) and editor Flynn Murphy (flynnmurphy@caixin.com)

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