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China to keep year's CPI rise around 4.8 percent
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China said on Wednesday it would strive to keep this year's CPI rise around the 4.8 percent of 2007 amid increasing inflationary pressure.

Premier Wen Jiabao, in a report to the First Session of the 11th National People's Congress, said China would "keep structural price increases from turning into significant inflation."

Last year, China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 4.8 percent year-on-year, the highest since 1997 and well above the 3 percent target, mainly due to rises in the cost of food and housing.

In January, China's monthly CPI rose by 7.1 percent, a result of price increases during the Chinese Lunar New Year and the severest winter weather attacking central, southern and eastern China in five decades.

Analysts attributed China's structural prices increases to the rising pork prices in the country and climbing costs of primary products on the world market.

Climbing prices of food, particularly pork and vegetable oil, caused a direct 4 percent of CPI rise last year.

Food price hikes were again to blame for 80 percent of January's 7.1-percent CPI rise.

"We believe prices will be stabilized in the second half of this year by increasing subsidies and investment in agriculture, and building up reserves of pork and other commodities in short supply," said Li Daokui, an economist with Beijing's Qinghua University.

Some countries have expressed concern that China's inflation might affect the world.

But Zhuang Jian, a senior economist with Asian Development Bank China Resident Mission, said grain and oil price increases on the world market were important structural factors that drove up China's CPI.

"People should read and analyze in an objective and rational manner the target set by the Chinese government and its influence on the world," he said.

The 4.8-percent CPI target, he said, was practical and showed the Chinese government's determination in macro regulation.

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