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China experiencing a runaway garlic price bubble

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: garlic, prices, health news

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(NaturalNews) Garlic prices have surged to such a degree in China that analysts are warning the market may have entered a bubble that will inevitably burst.

"From 2007 to April 2009 you could buy garlic for as little as 4 jiao [6 cents] a kilo, but now the price is about 13 yuan [$1.90]," said Wang Nianyong, director of the information office of the Beijing Xinfadi wholesale market.

Garlic prices were actually lower than usual in 2008, which led to a reduction in the amount of land under cultivation. This led to a low supply, which contributed to a price surge in spring 2009, when stories began to circulate that garlic could provide protection against the H1N1 swine flu.

Garlic has long been prized as an antimicrobial and immune-boosting food.

"Garlic is known as a potent immune system stimulant and even touted as being a natural antibiotic," writes David W Tanton in his book Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, And Stimulants -- Dangerous Drugs on Trial.

"Additionally, garlic is also effective against fungal infections, as it aids in removing parasites, and has proven effective in fighting both Candida and yeast vaginitis."

With demand for garlic increasing in the wake of the H1N1 scare and an abnormally cold spring damaging the crop and further driving down supply, many suppliers started stockpiling it.

"Although we do not have clear evidence, I heard that some of the storage owners have joined in hyping garlic," Wang said. "They stored garlic, which meant there was less out in the market, so the price kept going up. It is something people can't live without in daily life, especially in the north."

The rising prices have fueled market speculation.

"Garlic beats any other kind of investment, including stocks and real estate," broker Li Chunting said. "I just need to wait for several months to enjoy the price difference."

The government has already fined at least one company for hoarding, and has announced its intention to investigate unnatural price surges. China is the world's top producer of garlic.

Sources for this story include: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/30/....

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