The government's latest calculations...
The consumer price index (CPI) rose 3.42 percent last month from a year ago, following a 2.46 percent increase in July. It marked the highest level since August 2008, when the index expanded 4.68 percent, the DGBAS said in its monthly report.Wow. Analysts also said that rising global fuel costs are an issue. Note that the rising grain prices due to the drought in the US have yet to affect prices here, but they will probably start impacting small bakeries at some point. The Japan Times scribes:
DGBAS section chief Wang Shu-chuan (王淑娟) attributed the higher-than-expected rise in consumer prices last month to the surge in vegetable and fruit prices triggered by the two typhoons — Saola and Tembin — and torrential rains.
Vegetable prices increased 57.93 percent last month from a year earlier, the highest since October 2007, while fruit prices rose 20.14 percent, the report said.
The FAO's price index increased 23 percent for corn, 19 percent for wheat and 12 percent for sugar in July from the previous month. The futures prices at the Chicago Merchandise Exchange have soared about 40 percent for corn and wheat, and about 30 percent for soybeans in the past two months.Other factors are complicating demand -- rising grain prices and lack of grain have driven up meat prices, which were also being pushed up by long-term rising demand in developing nations as their incomes rise. And of course, America's insane biofuels policy, which consumes 40% of our corn crop, also drives up food prices. The Taipei Times ran a good overview commentary on the worsening global food issue a few days back.
Since gov't inflation reports are heavily influenced in a downward direction by political factors, just add whatever fudge factor you think is appropriate to arrive at the real figure. Veggies are so expensive I got into the foul habit of curbing my consumption of them. I expect that in the next few years, there is going to be a huge expansion of home and rooftop gardening in Taiwan as it begins to sink into the urban service working classes that high food costs are here to stay. Buy land ASAP, folks....
Taiwan's overall food security situation is grim. Many articles tell tales similar to this one:
According to Peng, rising energy cost and the unaffordable price of petroleum for cross-ocean shipping will be part of the cause that will kill global food trade. Research done by Oxford University reveals that this is likely to happen in 13 years. The report says that world production of petroleum will meet only half of world’s need in 2023. Or if the prediction of World Energy Outlook– which foresees the price of each barrel of petroleum will rise to USD 200 in 2030–comes true, then the cost of shipping will get too high to continue cross-ocean food trade. Food exporting countries will also cut their production because it will be too expensive.The petroleum price predictions here are likely nonsense -- the world has plenty of oil as shale and slate oil sources remain largely untapped, far more than peak oil theorists originally realized -- but the 2008 issues remain. As China's food demand increases, emergency food imports to Taiwan will become more difficult. The US is likely to become a far less reliable supplier given that drought will only worsen there over time as humans continue to relentlessly heat the planet. What policies does Taiwan have in place to promote long-term food security?
Actually something like this already happened in 2008 when the petroleum price rose to 120 USD per barrel. At that time Taiwan suspended importing sweet corn from the U.S and gave special permission to import it from China. The follow-up question is: Can China be the alternative when China’s food self-sufficiency rate is only 95% and dropping?
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