'Drought in China will not hit world grain prices', says Foreign Ministry spokesman

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Beijing, Feb 16 (ANI): Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu has downplayed the concerns that the prevailing drought in China's wheat-producing regions will have a global impact.

The situation "will not affect international food prices. The recent drought may have some impact on winter wheat production but the authorities are taking active measures to minimize the impact," China Daily quoted Zhaoxu, as saying.

He also said that China has "abundant" reserves of grain that are sufficient to meet the nation's needs.

The situation had caused considerable concern abroad, and even sparked a UN warning last week.

Lief Chiang, a Chinese agriculture analyst of Rabobank, had insisted earlier that a number of factors were behind the increase in global wheat prices, including flooding in Australia, drought in Russia and an early frost in Canada.Maybe, the drought in China was the straw that broke the camel's back," he had said, adding that the drought will have an impact on China's domestic grain production and other food prices.

Experts, however, have claimed that China's wheat crops are currently dormant, but there will be enough resources to meet the country's needs even if it rains in the next two months, the paper said.

"Good rains last October, before seeding, provided abundant moisture to get the current crop sprouted and established and in good shape to last the winter," Jerry Norton, a commodity analyst with the US Department of Agriculture, said. (ANI)

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