Inflation behind 100 yuan

From Netease:


November 11, 2010, data from Bureau of Statistics showed in October consumer price index rose 4.4%, reached a new high in the last 25 months.

Rewind time back to November, 2009, in one year, how much did the price of commodities rise?

The same 100 yuan, how many less things does it buy you after one year?

According to data from Beijing Market Association on November 13, 2009 and on November 13, 2010, let’s take a look how much the same 100 yuan has been weakened within a year.


In one year, 100 yuan buys you 30 less apples. The price of Fuji apple around Beijing area was 3.95 yuan / kg in 2009 and 5.94 yuan / kg in 2010. Apple price soared in 2010 made people ask “On what basis?” (‘苹’什么? Apple in Chinese is a phonetic pun of ‘basis’)


In one year, 100 yuan buys 4 and half bags less instant noodles. Price of instant noodles in Beijing was 2 yuan / pack in 2009 and 2.2 yuan / pack in 2010.


In one year, 100 yuan buys 6 kg less garlic. Price of garlic in Beijing was 6.8 yuan / kg in 2009 and 11.15 yuan / kg in 2010. In July 2010, the market price of garlic reached the highest point in the history. November 16, garlic price began to decline after some  skyrocketing prices.


In one year, 100 yuan buys 4 liang (an ancient weight unit, 4 liang is 0.2 kg) less cooking oil. Cooking oil was 17.91 yuan / kg in 2009 and 18.40 yuan / kg in 2010. In October, different brands of cooking oil prices in Beijing showed different rate of increase.


In one year, 100 yuan buys 90 less eggs. The price of eggs in Beijing was 6.47 yuan / kg in 2009 and 8.49 yuan / kg in 2010. In October, price of eggs rose 17.14%.


In one year, 100 yuan buys 1 (8 liang [0.4 kg]) less fish (Crucian Carp). Price of Crucian Carp in Beijing was 10.44 yuan / kg in 2009 and 10.67 yuan / kg in 2010. Price of Carp rose from 11.00 yuan / kg to 11.50 yuan / kg in the beginning of this month.


In one year, 100 yuan buys 3 jin (1.5kg) less chili peppers. Price of chili peppers in Beijing was 5.11 yuan / kg in 2009 and 5.53 yuan / kg


In one year, 100 yuan buys you 6 liang (0.3kg) less streaky pork. Price of streaky pork in Beijing was 17.48 yuan / kg in 2009 and 18.02 yuan / kg in 2010. Average price of pork in Beijing is now 15.76 yuan / kg compare with same time last year 13.68 yuan / kg, an increase of 15.37%.


In one year, 100 yuan buys 4.5 kg less flour. Price of flour in Beijing was 2.27 yuan / kg in 2009 and 2.33 yuan / kg in 2010.

  1. Aren’t we talking consumer prices here? Pork is 15.7 yuan a kilo Beijing?? It’s usually more than 20 around here and beef is more than 35. My best guesstimate is that all meats have gone up more than 30 percent since I came to China 2.5 years ago (Disclaimer: I just want to point out that I didn’t have anything to do with it, promise!)

    I have a nagging feeling that the official inflation numbers aren’t as high as they are in reality. Again, where I live real estate is going up 10-12 percent a year and if China doesn’t take some serious steps to stem the tide there’s gonna be MAJOR problems ahead. There’s already Chinese in the hundreds of millions who can’t afford a balanced nutritional diet and that problem is only going to get worse with this inflation ‘coz the wages definitely aren’t following at the moment.

    1. yes, you point out the fact. Although the salary do have some increase, it is not enough. And the Chinese situation is that the government is really rich to buy other countries’s bond while its people can not afford an economic apartment. I am not satisfied

      1. This matter is not as simple as you make it sound.
        1) If the government distributed the money to the people instead of buying foreign bonds, this extra spending money would cause even more inflation!
        2) Now, how to stop inflation?
        2a) Increase interest rates. This makes it even harder for the common people to borrow to buy a house. Also, it means more foreigners will want to buy RMB. This will push up the price of RMB compared to other currencies (USD and EUR for short). 2aa)Now either this happens, and then China will export less because goods made in China will become more expensive in foreign money.
        2ab)Or someone (the CCP) doesn’t let that happen, by buying opposite amounts of foreign money everytime: this is what they have been doing for years (so-called currency manipulation). Now the result is amusing: all in all the CCP is exchanging strong interest payment on the RMB for the foreign money’s weaker interest payment, in other words subsidizing foreign investors. Again, not nice for the Han common people..
        2b) Increase unemployment. I think this is the real solution if you want it. Inflation is caused by too many people having too good salaries, and conversely when there is large unemployment then inflation is controlled naturally. At present in China unemployment is extremely low because the rules protecting labour are extremely lax and the welfare benefits for unemployed people are extremely inexistant. If these conditions are made a little better, then there will be more unemployed people in China. If the subsidies are sufficiently low, and given to sufficiently many people (AND if these people are REALLY unemployed, not working undeclared to make extra cash!) then this class of people will naturally control inflation.

        This last statement is nothing new, it is the common solution against inflation in all modern economies. There has to be between 5-10% people taking unemployment benefits from the rest, living relatively cheaply.
        So finally you see maybe you should not be bothered about inflation. Trying to fight it is worse than having it, if there is accompanying growth of the economy. However, explosive growth is not sustainable more than 30 years, history teaches us. Because China has unique characteristics of overly large population size and authoritarian government, maybe this can be pushed to 40 years. But already the phenomenon of “second generation” children being less able to endure hardship than their parents, and the phenomenon of diminishing income for Bachelor and Masters university graduates, point out that the Chinese economy is becoming mature quite soon. Without the explosive growth to cover it, inflation will become more of a problem. If China choses to fight it, the textbook answer is 2b) , and not “let the State give money to unsatisfied golf trolley” 😉 .

        1. Unemployment doesn’t necessarily tackle inflation as there can be time for stagflation which is also a bad memory for some, if not all, American people. High prices for consumer goods don’t pose a threat to the well off. A sensible income re-distribution can be well understood as a reasonable way to help the underpriviledged.

  2. if China doesn’t fixed their currency rate
    this wouldn’t happen as dramatic
    this just cause producers to export more good and increase their price

  3. The saddest thing is most ordinary people (laobaixin) did not get any pay raise. Now it’s in a sense cheaper to live in the States than in China.

  4. Price of streetwalkers went up by 25% in same period!
    Now get a quarter less satisfaction!

  5. I spend 25% more a month at least than I did when I first moved to China, that I’m sure of. China’s people are between a rock and a hard place because their government pegged the yuan for too long.

  6. While the price of food has gone up – the next that has to be asked is “Has access to foodstuffs gone down?”

    Between desertification in the north and the urbanization in the south – a good deal farmland has been lost – increasing Beijing’s dependance on imported foods. Inflation or not, I would not be surprised if more price increases are in store for P.R. China due to shipping expenses.

  7. Inflation could be caused by too much money chasing too few goods. What kind of money is flowing too much globally now? Is it greenback or ‘Mao’s head’? China has increased the interest rate recently. Will there be some more responsible measure taken by ‘Uncle Sam’ other than exporting inflation to other countries?

    A friend of mind who lives in Vancouver has seen more and more people go across the border to buy cheaper stuffs in Seattle. Does inflation in China just mean inflation in China alone?

  8. CPI increases are due to reduced domestic supply of agricultural products coupled with the RMB peg to the US$ which is currently dropping in value relative to the other world currencies. If the US$ decreases so does the RMB and that means the price of imported raw materials and goods go up. China’s agricultural markets are connected to the outside world, for example China imports most of its Soy Beans from the USA and Australia which means prices rise.

    The USA is not exporting its inflation, rather countries that peg their currency to the US$ are choosing to import inflation. China pegs at a lower rate than possibly the market would dictate to the dollar because they want to keep their exports competitive in the USA. This keeps people in gainful employment but reduces the purchasing power of the whole population.

    At the end of the day, when a currency is pegged to another currency, you have to be prepared to take the costs. In China’s case if the RMB cannot rise naturally other routes are found to rebalance the economy in this case inflation will inevitably push up wages and house prices. We saw this in Hong Kong after the 1997 crash when most Asian countries when through a short sharp shock of currency devaluation but in HK due to the peg to the US$ there was a long and quite painful period of deflation that latest almost till 2001.

  9. China doesn’t peg RMB to US dollar. RMB is supposedly pegged to the creditability of US government , but which is diminising as US govt keeps on printing excessive amount of money.

    In fact, every currency which is pegged to US dollar is pegged to the creditability of US government. Thus, USA needs to be more responsible and careful when dealing their domestic problem, especially when they want to switch on their money printing machine. Therefore it is not surprising that we have recently heard some voices about establishing a ‘universal currency’ to take over the role of greenback, though the birth of it may still be so remote from present.

    It’s only a twist of words to say USA doesn’t export inflation, but other countries import inflation. Inflation is the destiny once the gigantic liquidity is created. Who creates it and by what way is it created? The answer is just too simple. US government creates it by printing excessive paper money.

    China doesn’t need to import inflation and neither other countries. As a matter of fact, China would like to import more hi tech goods from USA, but still USA is willing and capbable only to export inflation.

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