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NDRC: Price Intervention Not A Return to Planned Economy

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China's efforts to stabilize prices have gotten some results, and it is not necessary to start nationwide price intervention measures now, the country's top economic planning agency said in a statement Tuesday.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also said the government will implement provisional price intervention measures on key essential items and producer goods when they are needed to help stop prices from surging.

Food prices rose 10.1 percent year-on-year in October, the highest rate in two years. Vegetable prices alone climbed 18 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Surging food prices pushed up China's consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in October.

The continuing rise in the CPI is creating obstacles for the government to keep the entire year's inflation below 3 percent. The State Council announced a package of measures to prevent further price hikes, which were already paying off, with declines seen in prices of several goods.

Prices control measures were last implemented during an inflation episode in 2007 and 2008. The NDRC in its Tuesday statement considered the temporary price intervention as an effective way to curb inflation, even though some economists said they fear the impact will be limited. The NDRC urged people to have a clear understanding of such measures. They are supported by law, and will not affect businesses' pricing rights or suggest a return to a planned economy, the NDRC said.

( December 1, 2010)

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