‘China’s interim price control necessary, legal’March 6th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin
Beijing, March 6 (Xinhua) China’s interim price intervention announced in mid-January is necessary and in accord with the law and should not be read as an administrative interference with market behaviour, a top macro-economic planner said Thursday. “As a responsible government, we will not turn a blind eye to the situation,” said Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, referring to the price hikes since mid 2007 which further spiralled due to snow havoc before the Spring Festival.
The government is authorized by the Price Law to take such interim measures in certain circumstances, he said. The measures were not equal to a price freeze and they would be lifted when prices become stable.
“So, do not misread our interim measures as signs that the government steps up administrative interference on market prices,” he said.
Last year, China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 4.8 percent year-on-year, the highest since 1997 and well above the 3 percent target, mainly due to rises in the costs of food and housing.
Climbing food prices contributed to 83 percent of last year’s CPI rise and 84.5 percent of that in January, Ma said, adding the price hikes were more “price recoveries”, given the slight fluctuations of the past decade.
“This, however, does not mean we can ignore the situation,” he said. “In fact, we have to be aware of the increasing pressure.”
Premier Wen Jiabao, in his government work report to the parliamentary session beginning Wednesday, acknowledged China is facing increasing inflationary pressure.
China has set the CPI rise target for this year at around 4.8 percent, according to Wen’s report.
To curb domestic price hikes, Wen announced a series of measures, including increasing the production of grain, meat and other consumer goods, restricting industrial use of grain and grain exports, increasing the import of consumer goods in short supply and subsidising the low-income population.
Tags: blind eye, consumer price index, economic planner, food prices, government steps, government work report, grain exports, index cpi, inflationary pressure, interim measures, low incom, market behaviour, parliamentary session, premier wen jiabao, price freeze, price hikes, responsible government, spring festival, target, xinhua