To him, the price fluctuation of color peppers, an ingredient in the salad served in four- and five-star hotels, is a more convenient, and reliable index of the luxury hotels business. ‘My way of research,’ Zhang told China Daily, ‘is to look for cross reference on the micro-economic level to the macro-economic trend.’
For the last few weeks, to his surprise, the price of color peppers has been on the rise after hitting rock bottom in late 2008.
Color pepper prices point to a boom in hotel occupancy.
Zhang attributes the price rise to arrival of more visitors in Beijing, resulting in greater room occupancy and more meals served. He sees this as a sign of recovery from the slump caused by the global financial crisis.
China Daily reported Shang as saying, ‘Last August, after the Beijing Olympics ended, there was a sharp drop in the prices of color pepper in Beijing, and in late 2008, it hit a record low because of a sharp decline in hotel occupancy.’
But as Zhang noticed, the price has risen from RMB180 ($26) per box to RMB220 since March.
Zhang said, ‘It is really an improvement and definitely a positive indicator in the hotel business, although the figure is still nowhere near the high of 280 yuan seen last year.’