|A resident purchases rice in a farm products market in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province, Oct. 21, 2010. The consumer price index (CPI), China's main gauge of inflation, rose by a 24-month high of 3.6 percent in September from one year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Thursday. (Xinhua/Han Chuanhao)
BEIJING, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Higher food prices pushed the consumer price index (CPI), China's main gauge of inflation, to a 23-month high of 3.6 percent in September, but officials said China could still achieve the 3-percent full-year inflation target.
On a month-on-month basis, China's CPI grew 0.6 percent in September from August, Sheng Laiyun, spokesman of the National Bureau of Statistics, said Thursday at a press conference.
Surging food prices because of "adverse natural conditions" was the major reason for accelerated CPI growth in September, Sheng said.
Food prices, which account for about one third of the weighting in calculating the CPI, climbed 8 percent year on year last month. The year-on-year growth rate of China's food prices picked up from 7.5 percent in August, 6.8 percent in July and 5.7 percent in June.
China's CPI rose 2.9 percent year on year in the first nine months of this year, approaching the government's target ceiling of around 3 percent for the year.
Although the current situation was challenging, it was still possible for China to achieve the annual target this year with proper regulation, Sheng said.
The People's Bank of China, the central bank, surprised the market Tuesday by its first interest rate rise in nearly three years. The country's one-year lending and deposit rate was raised by 25 basis points, effective from Wednesday.
The interest rate rise was a response to emerging problems in the national economy, Sheng said. "It will have a positive influence on enhancing liquidity management, curbing price increases, improving macroeconomic regulation and promoting economic structure adjustment."
However, he did not elaborate on the emerging problems.