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Urban-rural income gap narrowing: ministry


08:59, November 02, 2012

BEIJING, Nov. 1 (Xinhua) -- Farmers saw rapid income growth in the first three quarters of this year, marking the third consecutive year that the income gap between China's urban and rural residents has continued to narrow, the Ministry of Agriculture said Thursday.

Chinese rural residents' per capita cash income stood at 6,778 yuan(1,075.87 U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters of this year, up 12.3 percent year on year and 2.5 percentage points higher than that of urban residents, the ministry said in a report.

The urban-rural income ratio has narrowed to 2.72 to 1, down from 2.77 to 1 in the same period last year, according to the report, which added that the gap has been on the decline for three consecutive years.

The narrowing gap reflects some initial results in China's management over urban-rural economic development and income distribution. It also indicates that the relationship between urban and rural regions has been improved and is now better coordinated, said Song Hongyuan, director of the Research Center for Rural Economics under the Ministry of Agriculture.

However, the report warned that as agricultural production costs have reached a high level, there is limited room for a price hike on farm products, and this will limit an increase in farmers' operational income.

Moreover, the grim global economic condition will have an impact on migrant workers' wages and weaken government efforts to boost the agricultural sector. These factors will make it difficult for rural residents' incomes to continue to grow faster than that of urban dwellers, it said.
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