SOURCE / MARKETS
Beijing wholesale markets closed over new COVID-19 cases, raising concerns over food prices
Published: Jun 13, 2020 03:18 PM

Photo:Li Hao/GT


 
Six wholesale markets in Beijing have been fully or partially closed after several cases of COVID-19 were confirmed this week, raising concerns over potential food price hikes in the city. 

The six markets, including the Xinfadi wholesale market where some of the latest coronavirus cases emerged, are the main source of meat and vegetables in Beijing. 

According to the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce, Xinfadi market alone supplies about 70 percent of the city’s vegetables and around 10 percent of its pork.

The Xinfadi market was ordered to suspend operations at 3am on Saturday and will undergo thorough disinfection.

The disrupted supply of vegetables is now being felt in the city. The price of eggplants increased to 3 yuan ($0.42) from 1.8 yuan per 500 grams in Jinbao market, the biggest vegetable market within the fifth ring road of Beijing, according to a resident surnamed Fan.

The price of most vegetable prices has doubled or even tripled since Friday, while the variety of vegetables is down by a third, as vendors say they have been unable to bring in fresh supplies.

A staffer at the Shunxinshimen market, one of the six markets told to suspend operations, told the Global Times on Saturday that the market is the supplier of food and vegetables to large supermarket chains, restaurants and smaller vendors in Beijing. The staff person said the market’s closure might have an impact it’s deliveries but as of Saturday afternoon its supply chain was still operating normally. 

According to the market’s website, Shunxinshimen has more than 2,000 vendors with more than 10,000 types of products including vegetables, fruits, seafood and dairy products. The market has more than 160,000 visitors a day. 

As of press time, the products on major e-commerce grocery platforms, including Freshhema and Missfresh have not seen prices change compared to yesterday. 

Beijing health official reported on Saturday morning that throat swabs of 45 people had tested positive for the coronavirus, among the 517 samples collected at the Xinfadi market.

Wang Hongcun, an official from the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Commerce, said on Friday during a press conference that the shutting down of the markets will have a “limited impact” on the supply of daily necessities in Beijing, given that most supermarkets have exclusive supply chains unaffected by wholesales markets. 
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