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CPI up 4.8 percent in 2007
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China saw its last year's inflation rate rise 4.8 percent, the highest level in more than a decade, which may force the government to take further tightening measures.


The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday announced the yearly figure of CPI (consumer price index), the main gauge of inflation, picking out food prices, especially the pork price, as the top propelling force.


Food prices ballooned 12.3 percent last year, driving up the CPI figure by 4.0 percentage points, said Xie Fuzhan, director of the NBS, at a press conference.


The average price of fowl and related products rose 31.7 percent in 2007 and the egg price increased 21.8 percent, Xie said.


"The surging pork price has pushed the CPI figure above 4 percent since last June," he said.


"The pork price was underestimated in 2006, which resulted in sharp declines of pigs, especially sows. The shortfall was further aggravated by a pig cull following a serious outbreak of blue-ear disease last year," he said while explaining the straight rise of the pork price.


Soaring prices of primary products in the international markets also affected domestic prices and contributed to the record-high CPI figure since 1997.


The oil prices broke over 100 US dollars a barrel for the first time at the beginning of this year, up from about 25 US dollars in 2003, and the edible oil prices nearly doubled last year in the international markets, Xie said.


"It has set China's inflation rate hike against a worldwide backdrop. India reported a CPI rise of 5.2 percent last year, Russia 9.4 percent, and even the United States is expected to have a 2.8 percent increase, and Europe an average rise above 2 percent," he said.


"Generally speaking, China is not alone. The new round of inflation tension is a global trend," he said.


(Xinhua News Agency January 24, 2008)

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