Easing livelihood pressure just as important as fighting pandemic
China Daily

Shoppers buy fruit at a supermarket in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province. (Photo: China Daily)

Last month the consumer price index dropped 0.5 percent year-on-year and 0.6 percent compared with October, says the National Bureau of Statistics.

This is the first monthly negative CPI growth in over 11 years, serving as an important factor for the adjustment of monetary policy.

The fall in food price-it increased 2.2 percent year-on-year in October and decreased 2 percent last month-is the main cause for the decline in the CPI and accounts for about 0.44 percentage points.

Notably, pork price, the main indicator of food prices, plummeted 12.5 percent year-on-year last month, 9.7 percentage points more than the fall in October.

Although many factors contribute to the decrease in the CPI, one cannot deny that it is partially an outcome of the implementation of policies aimed at easing pressure on people's livelihoods this year.

For instance, tremendous efforts have been made to increase the supply of food and other daily necessities, and to bring down logistics costs, all of them conducive to bringing down the CPI.

Although China is one of the first countries to have generally broken the transmission chains of the novel coronavirus, its impact on the economy is still taking a toll on people's livelihoods, particularly those in the lower-income group, as they are extremely vulnerable to decreasing incomes, unemployment and rising living costs.

The fall of the CPI, particularly the fall in food price, means more people can meet their basic needs, relieving the pressure on the lower-income people.

However, as more local infections have been reported in recent days, considerable energy and resources that could have gone into improving people's livelihoods now have to be set aside to prevent the virus from staging a comeback.

The virus' looming pressure should just be a reminder to the governments at various levels that they must pay special attention to taking care of the disadvantaged, which is their obligation, and directly concerns the foundation of social stability, no matter how demanding the challenges on other fronts are.