Panicked shoppers in Taiwan load up on toilet paper, fearing huge price increases

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      There are many things that people can live without...but toilet paper isn't one of them.

      So when Taiwanese media reported that prices were going to spike because of changes in the pulp market, it prompted panic buying in the East Asian country.

      Over the past few days, store shelves were cleaned out as frenzied consumers rushed to stock up.

      The price of short-fibre pulp, which is used to make toilet paper, has risen from US$650 per ton to US$800 per ton, according to Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs.

      That was reportedly going to lead to the price of toilet paper increasing by up to 30 percent by the middle of next month.

      But the intense consumer reaction prompted Taiwan's premier, William Lai, to assure the public that this wasn't going to happen.

      The Taiwanese cabinet has also told citizens that there is a good supply, so there's no need to buy massive amounts of bathroom tissue.

      Meanwhile, the Taipei Times has reported that four major supermarket chains are pledging not to jack up the price of toilet paper before the middle of next month.