The wholesale and retall price of garlic registered a year-on-year increases of 90 percent and 67.9 percent respectively in October, fueling concerns of possible inflation. Li Pumin, secretary general of the National Development and Reform Commission, said the recent soaring garlic price was a result of waning production and speculation. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Monday:
What directly led to the recent hike in the price of garlic was the cold wave that swept across the regions that are home to most of the country's garlic production at the end of last year.
However, while the bad weather earlier this year was surely responsible for bringing an end to the rising prices of most vegetables during summer while that does not seem to have been the case for garlic, whose price surged 50 percent last month.
The truth is, it was the speculative hoarding, not demand-supply forces that pushed up the price of garlic.
Easy to store and transport, garlic has fallen victim to concerted speculation, with garlic hoarders intentionally withholding their supplies.
Price watchdogs at all levels are right to keep a close eye on any speculative moves to manipulate the price of garlic, as the implications of the surging garlic price go beyond the numbers and figures.
The consumer price index, the country's key inflation gauge, grew at its fastest pace in six months in October due to rising food prices. The producer price index, too, rose 1.2 percent year-on-year last month, putting an end to the negative growth over the preceding 54 months.
These changes may signal even higher inflation next year. It is time for all departments to make preemptive moves to keep that at bay.