China Asks Distillers Not to Raise Prices Amid Inflation Fears

China’s top economic planning commission asked liquor makers including Wuliangye Yibin Co. not to raise prices as the country grapples with inflation that reached a three-year high in July.

Representatives from Kweichow Moutai Co., Wuliangye, Luzhou Laojiao Co., Anhui Gujing Distillery Co. and other distillers attended a Sept. 16 meeting in which the National Development and Reform Commission made the request, the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association said Sept. 19 on its website.

The request was aimed at stopping the sort of increases that Wuliangye, China’s largest liquor maker by sales, announced last month, when it said it would raise prices 20 percent to 30 percent starting Sept. 10. The NDRC said in May it would fine Unilever, the world’s second-largest maker of consumer goods, for announcing price increases, amid government efforts to control inflation.

“Considering recent inflation pressure, liquor products play a special role in stabilizing market consumption even though they are not staple consumer goods,” the drinks industry association said.

Moutai, the world’s second largest distiller by market value, may raise prices before Oct. 1, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Sept. 16, citing an unidentified person familiar with the situation.

China’s inflation eased in August to 6.2 percent after reaching 6.5 percent in July, a three-year high.