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Commerce Ministry: CPI to Rise by 4% This Year
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In a survey published yesterday, the Ministry of Commerce predicted the country's consumer price index (CPI), a key barometer of inflation, is expected to rise 4 percent for the whole year, one percentage point above the official whole-year target of three percent.


The figure climbed by 6.5 percent in the month of August and by 3.9 percent for the first eight months of the year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.


The ministry's survey studied the supply and demand situation of 600 major consumer goods. It predicted that 5 consumer products: pork, pig spareribs, peanut oil, soybean oil and rapeseed oil, would face supply constraints during the second half of the year due to production periods and the outbreak of blue-ear disease in some regions.


One hundred and nine consumer goods were listed as facing surplus supplies. These are mainly concentrated in sectors like electrical appliances, garments and accessories, shoes and caps, timepieces and glasses.


However, the survey pointed out that the overall supply and demand relationship would balance out during the second half of the year as consumer prices continue to rise steadily.


Retail sales for the whole year are projected to increase by 15 percent and reach 8.8 trillion yuan (US$1.17 trillion), as fast economic growth and the booming securities market continue to stimulate consumer's shopping desire.


In the first half of this year, per capita disposable income rose by 14.2 percent for urban residents and per capita cash income for farmers also gained a 13.3 percent increase. This increasing spending power has prompted retail sales to top 4.9 trillion yuan (US$652.1 billion) for the first 7 months, a 15.5 increase from a year ago and the highest hike since 1997.


(China.org.cn by Yuan Fang, September 19, 2007)

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