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Price freeze call sees liquor shares fall

(Shanghai Daily)

16:01, September 24, 2011

Shanghai--Share prices of major liquor makers in China dropped yesterday after the government asked them to stop raising prices amid inflation pressure.

Kweichow Moutai Co, the world's second-largest distiller by market value, lost 1.8 percent to 194.50 (US$ 30.40) yuan yesterday in Shanghai, while Wuliangye Yibin Co lost 2 percent to 36.43 yuan.

A measure for 13 distillers dropped 1.76 percent on Thursday, sharper than a 0.41 percent decline of the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index and a 1.15 percent drop on the Shenzhen market.

The tumble follows an official proposal that China's alcohol association and major distillers should not raise prices while ensuring market supply, according to a statement posted on the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association's website on Wednesday.

"Liquor products are not staple consumer goods but they play a special role in stabilizing market prices," according to the statement. "There should not be any price hikes."

Representatives from Kweichow Moutai Co, Wuliangye, Luzhou Laojiao Co, Anhui Gujing Distillery Co and other distillers attended a September 16 meeting where the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top price authority, required liquor makers to "keep prices stable," the statement said.

The request was intended to stop a series of price hike proposals by some companies after Wuliangye said last month it would raise prices by 20 percent to 30 percent starting September 10.

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