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China imposes price controls to stave off inflation

By Chris Isidore, senior writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- China moved Wednesday to put price controls in place to deal with rising inflation pressures.

The government announced price control guidelines and said it would put state reserves of grains, edible oils and sugar on the market when necessary in order to guarantee supplies, according to Gov.cn, the English language Web site of the Chinese government.

"The authorities should adjust prices promptly and moderately, keep natural gas prices stable and impose temporary price controls on important daily necessities and production materials when necessary," said the statement.

The statement said the government would also strengthen market supervision and crack down on hoarding or speculation in major agricultural products.

Overall, consumer prices have risen 4.4% in the 12 months ending in October, the highest level of inflation since the global financial crisis hit two years ago. That was led by a 10.1% rise in food prices over the same period.

That pace of price increases is up from 3.6% overall and 8% for food in September. And it stands in stark contrast to weak prices in much of the developed world, which is still struggling with slow growth.

For example, overall prices rose only 1.2% in the United States during the same period, the Labor Department announced Wednesday. When stripping out the increases in volatile food and energy prices, the so-called core inflation posted the smallest rise on record.

The Shanghai composite stock index closed down 2% Wednesday, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 2%. But markets in Europe and the United States, which fell sharply Tuesday on worries about China taking steps to slow economic growth, were slightly higher in Wednesday trading. To top of page

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