Beijing mayor pledges to rein in soaring prices, ease traffic congestion

08:55, January 17, 2011      

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Beijing will strive to rein in soaring prices, provide more affordable housing and ease congestion, as part of its efforts to achieve stable growth and settle issues concerning the livelihood of the people, Mayor Guo Jinlong said Sunday at the city's parliamentary session.

Beijing reported at least 10 percent GDP growth in 2010, and despite widespread complaints of price hikes, the city's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, was kept at 3 percent, according to Guo's report to the annual session of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress, the local legislature.

"This year we are under heavy pressure to stabilize housing and other retail prices while optimizing the investment structure now that a comparatively high proportion of investment goes into the real estate sector," Guo said.

He said the city government will take strict measures to regulate the real estate market, ensure stable and orderly land supply, and curb speculative investment, to keep housing prices from increasing further.

Thanks to an array of policies implemented last year, including tighter credit for commercial housing, the growth rate of unit prices of new apartments in Beijing slowed from May 2010, Guo said, quoting figures released by the municipal housing and urban construction committee.

The data indicated the average price hike for new apartments slowed from 22 percent in May to 14.3 percent in November, bringing the average unit price per square meter down to 20,000 yuan from 23,000 yuan.

This year, he said the city government plans to build more affordable housing for low-income groups. "We will build or buy 200,000 affordable apartments this year, and hopefully, half of them will be ready for people to move in to by the end of the year," said Guo.


The mayor said Beijing will target an 8-percent per annum GDP growth rate in the 2011-to-2015 period.

"Beijing will slow its growth rate to create a sound environment for a shift in the growth pattern, focusing on quality and efficiency rather than sheer quantity of development," said Guo.

Beijing's economic growth will go, hand in glove, with the improved livelihood of the people, he said.

While maintaining stable GDP growth, Guo said Beijing will keep its unemployment rate below 2.5 percent and rein in its CPI to around 4 percent.

He also said the city will achieve a 7-percent rise in income for urban and rural residents and a 9-percent rise in fiscal revenue.

Meanwhile, the city will strive to reduce both energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 3.5 percent, Guo said.

The city will also work to reduce water consumption by 4 percent, Guo added.

In the 2006-to-2010 period, Beijing reported average annual GDP growth of 11 percent. Its per capita GDP topped 10,000 U.S. dollars for the first time in 2009.

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