The government will ensure the supply of grain and prevent the prices of goods being artificially forced up, hoping to ease consumer price inflation that has come under criticism from the public, Minister of Economic Affairs Steve Chen (陳瑞隆) said yesterday.
Although the Consumers' Foundation (消基會) has urged the government to suspend the floating fuel price mechanism as gasoline prices are breaking new highs each week, the minister insisted the measure would continue to reflect the real cost of oil.
Chen made the remarks after a inter-departmental meeting held at the ministry to discuss the supply of raw materials and grain -- such as soybeans, corn and wheat -- whose prices have been rising due to extra demand caused by the development of biofuels.
The price of imported soybeans has risen 51 percent from US$206 per tonne in 2001 to US$312 per tonne for the first four months of this year, government statistics showed. In the same period, the price of corn has jumped by nearly 86 percent to US$210 per tonne.
The ministry will continue to monitor the market and work with the Fair Trade Commission to investigate any market manipulation, Chen said.
Chen denied a Chinese-language China Times report that the ministry planned to import cheaper grain from China to ease the price inflation, saying China also has to import these goods.