Chinese authorities clamp down on commodity prices ahead of National Day holiday   2011-09-30 11:41:16 FeedbackPrintRSS

BEIJING, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- Government authorities have launched a coordinated campaign to stabilize the prices of basic commodities and issue subsidies to low-income urban families ahead of the week-long National Day holiday amid lingering inflation.

The holiday, which begins on Saturday this year, often brings increased commodity prices, creating additional pressure for low-income urban families who are already struggling to get by.

Civil affairs departments in major cities and small towns across China have issued subsidies to impoverished households to help them fend off any possible price surges.

The Shanghai civil affairs department has issued one-off subsidies of 100 yuan (15.6 U.S. dollars) per person to families who have registered low-income status with the city government. The municipal human resources department has also increased monthly subsidies for the elderly by 120 yuan per person this month.

China's consumer price index (CPI), a major indicator of inflation, has remained at a high level for much of the year, although August saw the CPI drop to 6.2 percent from July's 27-month high of 6.5 percent.

The Ministry of Agriculture's Thursday forecast regarding the fall grain harvest has contributed to restoring market confidence. Vice Minister of Agriculture Chen Xiaohua said this year's grain output is expected to top 550 million metric tons, a record high.

Lai Wenda, deputy director of the pricing bureau of east China's Fujian province, said grain prices are the backbone of other basic commodity prices. He said the bureau has stepped up its monitoring of price fluctuations in the tourism industry in preparation for an imminent travel boom during the holiday.

Pricing authorities in most Chinese cities have opened hotlines, encouraging residents to call in with reports of price hikes or speculation.

The Xuhui district government in Shanghai has prepared a five-million-yuan emergency fund to help regulate commodity prices during the holiday. The money will be used to offset losses for vegetable suppliers who keep their prices in check during the holiday.

Editor: An
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