China's central bank said interest rate adjustments would play a greater role in monetary macro-control as it warned of increased inflationary pressure.
"We'll make use of the interest rate tool and let the price lever play a bigger role in monetary policy," said the central bank in a quarterly monetary policy report released on Friday.
It said risks of price hikes have multiplied and inflationary pressures are building.
China's consumer price index hit a 20-month high last November, reaching 1.9 percent, and surged to 2.8 percent in December.
A survey of depositors conducted by the central bank in the fourth quarter of 2006 showed citizens fear further price hikes.
The bank attributed inflationary pressures to stronger demand from industries and consumers as well as higher costs for enterprises.
The last interest rate hike in August resulted from concerns about excessive investment and currency liquidity. But now the central bank is making the containment of inflation a key focus of its interest rate policies, said Shanghai-based Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co.
It predicted the bank is likely to increase interest rates this March or April.
The Orient Securities Co. also anticipated interest rate rises but said one or two hikes will have a limited effect on the market.
(Xinhua News Agency February 10, 2007)