Overall inflation levels forecast to remain stable

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China is not likely to see overall prices rise sharply in the period ahead, given the adequate supply of goods and steady growth in household consumption, the country's top economic planner said on Friday.

Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission, said price changes were in the moderate range in July, and forecasts call for overall price levels to remain stable.

"On one hand, we've got an abundant supply of industrial and agricultural products and services. On the other hand, household consumption is growing steadily, which will help keep prices on track." Meng said at an NDRC news conference on Friday in Beijing.

Consumer and factory-gate inflation was within a reasonable range last month, officials said. In July, consumer prices rose 2.8 percent year on year, the highest since February 2018.

What is often called the core CPI, which strips away the effects of volatile food and energy costs, rose 1.6 percent year-on-year in July, maintaining relative stability.

The NDRC said it has worked with departments to issue a series of measures, such as offering subsidies and easier financing to pig farms, while fighting market speculation.

"We will continue to closely monitor price changes, and will take measures accordingly to make sure prices are within a reasonable range," Meng said

China's economic growth moderated in July, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

Last month, the total added value of major industrial enterprises grew by 4.8 percent year-on-year, 1.5 percentage points lower than that of June.

Total retail sales of consumer goods were 3.3 trillion yuan ($469 billion) last month, a 7.6 percent year-on-year increase, 2.2 percentage points lower than in June. Fixed asset investment, excluding rural households, rose 5.7 percent year-on-year to 34.89 trillion yuan, 0.1 percentage point lower than in the first six months.

The NDRC said it will enact key measures in a new push to boost consumption and keep employment stable.

"In general, the economy continued to perform within the reasonable range and maintained steady growth," said Yu Ze, a researcher at the National Academy of Development and Strategy of Renmin University of China. Yu spoke at a recent macro economy forum in Beijing.

"Although the Chinese economy has shown some resilience, it will need more supportive government policies, such as accelerating infrastructure investment and providing support for increasing employment."

The NDRC approved 12 fixed asset investment projects in July, primarily in the fields of transportation and energy. Overall investment was 70.5 billion yuan in July, compared with 51.6 billion yuan in May.

A report of the National Academy of Development and Strategy said China's GDP is estimated to grow 6.1 percent this year, down 0.5 percentage point from 2018, and overall price levels will remain stable. Consumer and producer price indexes are expected to rise this year by 2.2 percent and 0.5 percent, respectively, it said.

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