Price stability a top priority: Premier Wen

08:28, July 12, 2011      

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Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (1st R, Front) chats with a meat vendor in a supermarket in Xianyang, northwest China's Shaanxi Province, July 9, 2011. Wen made an inspection tour of Shaanxi, which took him to the cities of Xianyang and Xi'an from Saturday to Sunday. (Xinhua/Huang Jingwen)

Premier Wen Jiabao has repeated the government's line that maintaining the stability of consumer prices remains a top priority of the country's macro-economic regulation.

"The country will stick to its macro-regulation stance and well grasp the direction, strength and rhythm of its macro-economic policies," Wen said during a visit to Shaanxi Province over the weekend.

Although China's economic operation is now "generally good," the situation for its economic development is "complicated" with many unstable and uncertain factors, he said.

Wen mentioned the recent sharp rises of pork prices, which he said were good for farmers but increased urban residents' living costs.

"The government holds the unavoidable responsibility of stabilizing pork prices," he said.

He urged relevant authorities to announce policies as soon as possible to encourage more pigs to be bred and stabilize the pork market.

Data released Saturday showed that China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 6.4 percent year-on-year in June, the highest level since June 2008 and well above the government's target of 4 percent for the year.

The price of pork, a staple meat for Chinese, has become a major driver for rising consumer prices. Pork prices surged 57.1 percent in June compared with that of last year.

"We expect the CPI inflation to continue to be driven by food prices, especially that of pork, with non-food CPI edging up slowly," UBS Securities economist Wang Tao said in an email to clients.

Wang said he expected the country's CPI to stay above 6 percent in July and slightly below 6 percent in August before dropping more visibly in the fall. "We still expect CPI to come down to 4 percent at year end, averaging around 5 percent for the year."

During Wen's visit, he urged enterprises to sharpen their competitive edges by restructuring, cutting costs and improving quality.

He also urged governments at all levels to promote the development of China's logistic industry.

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