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Price rises hitting home
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The recent increase in food and oil prices is likely to keep more Chinese shoppers at home and change their way of spending, a new AC Nielsen online survey reveals.

Of those consumers surveyed in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, 61 percent indicated the price increases had affected how they spend, while 52 percent said they had felt the effect of oil price rises.

The consumer price index, China's key inflation indicator, surged to a 12 year high of 8.7 percent in February, with food prices expanding by 23.3 percent year on year.

Most consumers surveyed said they would not cut their food spending. However, 18 percent chose to reduce their grocery food bills.

In trying to reduce expenses, 75 percent said they would cut back on recreational activities, while 68 percent ticked off dining out. About 43 percent planned to cut clothing purchases.

Seventy percent said they were investing in the stock markets, and over two-thirds said their spending was not influenced by the movement of share prices. Only 4 percent said they would cut spending if stock prices continued to fall.

Chinese shares plunged 4.13 percent on Tuesday, taking the index to near one-year low, after the central bank said that tight monetary policies would persist this year.

(Xinhua News Agency April 3, 2008)

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