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China pledges to stablize prices
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China will take further measures to stabilize the general price level to maintain market and social stability, according to an executive meeting of the State Council on Wednesday.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presided over the meeting.

China's consumer price index rebounded to 6.5 percent in October on rises in grain and pork prices, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday. The figure was up from 6.2 percent in September and matched the 11-year monthly record in August.

The Chinese government will boost investment in farm infrastructure construction and raise direct subsidies to farmers to maintain grain acreage and encourage planting of oil crops and vegetables, the meeting said.

It also pledged comprehensive measures to expand crude oil production and refining capacities to guarantee supplies of oil products.

The government will adjust the nation's current tariff policies to help increase the imports of some consumer products that are short on domestic markets, according to the meeting.

The meeting also called to strengthen market monitoring to clamp down on price rigging and maintain normal operation of the markets.

It added the government would raise pensions for company retirees and minimum allowances for needy residents. It would also continue to subsidize school canteens and public transport.

On Monday, Wen toured the alleys in Dongcheng District of Beijing amid far-flung concern over soaring food prices.

He talked with some needy residents and reassured them the government would take measures to ensure sufficient supply and stabilize prices.

"Prices have been on the rise these days and I'm aware that even a one yuan (US$0.13) increase in prices will affect people's lives," the premier said.

"Only when people's quality of life is improved will we feel reassured and believe we did a good job," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency November 15, 2007)

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