Soaring food prices in Asian countries worry economists, policymakers  The surging price of commodities is affecting countries throughout the globe, driving inflation rates higher and leading to political instability in some cases. According to a published report, Asian countries are being adversely affected by the rising prices.

Bloomberg reports that traditional Asian cuisines like pork, rice, onions and chilies, among other food staples, have soared in price since the beginning of the year. Economists have warned that high commodity prices often lead to political as well as economic instability, with a number of the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa triggered at least in part by the high price of food.

Asian countries, however, are starting to feel the pinch as well. China has been battling a rapidly climbing inflation rate over the past year and even though policymakers have endeavored to slow the economy's red hot pace of growth, inflation rates continue to plague the world's second biggest economy.

Pork prices in China rose precipitously in June, according to data, with the meat staple's price climbing 57 percent. What's more, India was forced to purchase onions from its fierce rival Pakistan because of supply shortages in other parts of the globe.

Food comprises more than 30 percent of the inflation index in Asia, which is far higher than the 15 percent it occupies in Europe. In the U.S., that figure is only 10 percent. Emerging economies, of which China and India are a part, often are more sensitive to fluctuations in food prices, according to industry analysts.

As a result of the higher food prices, a number of Asian countries have moved to raise interest rates as they work to rein in inflation. This, however, increases the cost of borrowing and can effectively stymie growth in many instances.

In Singapore, the government recently raised its Consumer Price Index (CPI) forecast, according to The Wall Street Journal, illustrating the growing threat of inflation in the country. Still, the government said its strong dollar policy has capped inflation - though it is not pleased with high inflation.

Nonetheless, Singapore is a more developed nation that other Asian countries, leading analysts to continue to worry about how high food prices will affect Asian economies.

"For low-income countries, food expenditures normally account for a larger share of the consumption basket," Asian Development Bank director general Yao Xianbin told Bloomberg. "As countries get wealthier, food expenditure will account for a declining share of total expenditure."
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