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Lower meat, home prices, Chinese people's New Year wish

(Xinhua)

10:20, January 02, 2012

HEFEI, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Ancient Chinese historians said that to ordinary people, all that matters is food. And among food, to Wang Xueqin in east China's Hefei City, meat comes first.

The retired woman's New Year's wish is that the government will continue to rein in rising meat prices, otherwise, she said, "I can no longer afford to eat meat. It's no joke!"

Vegetable prices are not too expensive, but meat prices have been rising too fast, the 77-year-old woman said.

Pork price has risen to 29 yuan per kilogram from 22 yuan a year ago in Hefei, capital of Anhui Province, while mutton price is now 50 yuan per kilogram, compared with 32 yuan a year ago, according to Wang.

Wang has a monthly pension of 1,500 yuan (230 U.S. dollars). The money is only enough for food after she pays the bills of electricity, gas, phone calls and other costs.

According to a survey in 50 cities in the fourth quarter by the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, nearly 69 percent respondents considered consumer prices were unacceptably high. The survey covered 20,000 urban depositors.

The country's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 5.5 percent year-on-year from Jan. to Nov. this year, peaking at 6.5 percent in July, a total well above the government's full-year inflation control target of 4 percent.

The government prioritized price control among its economic agenda in 2011 as it strived to seek balance between cooling an overheated economy and ensuring growth.

According to the central bank's survey, inflation expectation among people is declining, as 36.8 percent of respondents believed that consumer prices would continue to rise in the next quarter, 12.8 percentage points lower than the figure in a similar survey in the previous quarter.

"In the new year, I hope there will be no more rocketing prices of daily necessities, especially those of meat," Wang said.

She is also expecting a pension rise in 2012. "We'll surely have better days if the pension is raised. Only when the rise of wages and pensions outpaces that of consumer prices can we ordinary people have good days."

Shelter is also a major daily concern of Chinese people since ancient times, coming after clothing and feeding and before transport.

The topic, however, may top the concern list today as people have been complaining about the notoriously high housing prices in recent years, which, in some cities, are even more than 10 times higher than the monthly salary of a new college graduate.

The government has imposed a raft of measures aiming to rein in housing prices since April 2010. These measures include higher down payments, home ownership limits, less access to loans and construction of low-income housing.

Sun Yuxue has been dreaming for a home for long. She consulted a real estate agency in Hefei on Sunday with her boyfriend, but the pharmacy saleswoman in Hefei still hesitated as she hoped that the government's macro control policies on the property sector will result in further decline of housing prices this year.

Sun kept an eye on the property market all through last year, and observed that housing prices in Hefei had been dropping, but she would still wait for lower prices this year.

"When the price drops below 6,000 yuan per square meter, I'll no longer hesitate. That's my New Year's wish," she said.

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Canada at 2012-01-0370.36.49.*
The price of pork varies from week to week, from store to store, depends on cut, but in one flyer it is listed at $8.80/kg Cdn [54.52 yuan]. I don"t see a price for mutton [lamb?] but it is expensive. Housing is sold by square foot. Although square feet is listed, it is advertised by price. I did a search in Vancouver: 4 units [apartments] for sale from $180,000.00 to $200,000.00, 4 units from $200,000.00 - $225,000.00, 18 units from $225,000.00 - $250,000.00, 29 units from $250,000 - $300,000.00, 33 units from $300,000.00 - $350,000.00. Not long ago I did a search and basically no listings under $250,000.00. Under $300,000.00 look to be older units in poorer locations. Better locations would be much higher than $350,000.00. Most all under $300,000.00 would be one bedroom, from about 530 - 630 square feet. Two bedrooms likely all over $350,000.00. Prices have come down, not because of any effort by government, but because of unemployment, low wages, etc. Canadian dollar = 6.19 yuan. 53% of my pension goes for rent [611 square feet], 18% for electricity, phone, cable, internet, insurance. ___________________________________________________Top CEOs take three hours to make an average worker"s yearly salary Heather Scoffield OTTAWA— The Canadian Press Published Monday, Jan. 02, 2012 9:33PM ESTThe richest of the rich have gained more ground in Canada, and are now making 189 times the average Canadian wage, according to a new report. The 100 highest paid chief executives whose companies are listed on the S&P/TSX composite index made an average of $8.38-million in 2010, according to figures pulled from circulars by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning think-tank. That"s 189 times higher than the $44,366 an average Canadian made working full time in 2010, the report says. And it"s a 27 per cent raise from the $6.6-million average compensation for the top 100 CEOs in 2009, the report says. Regular Canadians, on the other hand, have seen their wages stagnate over the past few years. In 2010, after adjusting for inflation, average wages actually fell. “The gap between Canada"s CEO elite 100 and the rest of us is growing at a fast and steady pace, with no signs of letting up,” says economist Hugh Mackenzie, who authored the report. “The extraordinarily high pay of chief executive officers is more than a curiosity. It actually is a reflection of a troubling redistribution of society"s resources in Canada and the United States, and in most of Western Europe,” he said in an interview. He points out that in 1998, the top 100 CEOs were paid 105 times the average wage. Since then, the ratio has generally climbed up. In 2008, it was 174, dropping back to 155 during the recession in 2009. The high-water mark was 2007, when it peaked over 190. It means that by noon on Jan. 3 (the first working day of the year), the average top executive will have already made as much money as the average Canadian worker makes in a year.
Canada at 2012-01-0370.36.49.*
Governments in Canada don"t make absolutely no attempt to control food or housing costs.
  

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