- Hoarding grain against inflation
- Tencent wants to lead the Metaverse
- Sinolytics radar: Trade war continues under Biden
- Arms deal with Taiwan
- Beijing tightens Covid measures
- Solomon Islands refuse entry to ships
- Will China soon send gas to Europe?
- Opinion: Stephen S. Roach on China’s growth sacrifice
China’s vast food reserves prove to be the Communist Party’s secret weapon against inflation. They were created to ensure a steady supply of food in the event of crop failures, and that is precisely the function they currently perform after the record drought. But by allowing state planners to keep supplies high in times of crisis, they also curb price fluctuations, analyzes Ning Wang. China has the world’s largest food stockpiles including wheat and pork.
However, if the world continues to experience extremely dry weather year after year, then even the high reserves will no longer be of any use at some point. At the height of the Covid pandemic, President Xi Jinping already proposed a solution: China’s citizens should eat less. Those who waste food will be fined. In case of doubt, however, China will once again buy on the world market – and drive up prices in other regions.
Meanwhile, visionaries of the so-called metaverse are designing a brave new world of a different kind. The term describes a virtual reality in which we humans lead a second life in digital space in the form of avatars. Once it is finalized, the Metaverse will primarily be a new economic space. Companies and individuals will be able to invest, buy, sell and earn money for services here. That China will also follow its own approach here seems likely. The gaming and social media giant Tencent in particular has the know-how to create its own parallel online world. The company from Shenzhen will probably set standards early on, reports Frank Sieren. However, unlike in the past, Beijing will know how to undermine monopolies at an early stage. China is already setting narrow limits for the digital space of tomorrow.
Full granaries secure supply despite droughts
Heat waves have been plaguing large parts of China for weeks. Temperatures climbed to 44 degrees Celsius on several days (China.Table reported). While the heat is expected to gradually ease in some regions by the end of August, farmers in many provinces are in despair. The drought is raising concerns about crop damages or even whole crop failures. “Autumn grain output accounts for three-quarters of the total annual grain output,” Vice Premier Hu Chunhua said, joining a chain of official voices that openly warn about the impending consequences of the climate: How can food shortages be prevented?
As recently as mid-August, Liu Weiping, China’s vice minister of water resources, warned, “Rice and other autumn crops were now at a critical period when it comes to irrigation.” The low levels of the Yangtze River (China.Table reported) damaged more than 800,000 hectares of farmland in the Yangtze basin, according to Liu. More than 800,000 people in the region struggle to access clean water.
Damage to crops and water scarcity could “spread to other food-related sectors, resulting in a substantial price increase or a food crisis in the most severe case”, said Lin Zhong, a professor at City University of Hong Kong who has studied the impact of climate change on agriculture in China. Experts expect China to buy even more food on the global market to increase its stockpiles and meet its supply targets set by the political leadership.