A Chinese government official rebuffed the idea that the nation’s massive corn and wheat imports are to blame for the jump in international prices, saying the coronavirus pandemic and uncertainty in global food trade drove “panic” in the industry.
Grain prices have risen because of export restrictions by major suppliers and the stockpiling of food reserves by some countries, the Economic Daily reported, citing the views of Huang Hanquan, an official with the National Development & Reform Commission.
Huang said it’s “irresponsible and completely contrary to the facts” to pin rocketing global food prices on China’s imports. The country’s grain imports only account for a 10th of global trade, with the majority being soybeans, and have a limited impact on international food prices, according to the report.
Crop prices have been on a tear as China’s buying gained pace in recent months amid tighter-than-expected world grain and oilseed supplies and the need to feed a massive number of hogs as its herd recovers from African swine fever. The second-biggest economy surpassed for the first time ever an annual corn-import quota set by the World Trade Organization as purchases in October hit a 2016-high.
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