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China puts more grain reserve on market, prices slightly decline

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BEIJING, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- China state grain reserve released 8.6 million tonnes of grain on to the market from Nov. 29 to Dec.3 to ensure market supply and stabilize prices, said the country's top economic planner Thursday.

The figure was up by 136,000 tonnes from the amount the previous week, with market prices seeing small declines and trade shrinking visibly, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The reserve included 1.8 million tonnes of corn, 4.5 million tonnes of wheat, 2.1 million tonnes of rice and 296,000 tonnes of soybean, the NDRC said.

Previous figures showed a total of 25.5 million tonnes of stockpiled grain and cooking oil had been released on to the market since the end of October.

The NDRC said the reserve grain put on the market had begun to be effective in ensuring supplies and stabilizing prices.

Corn coming into the market last week was traded at 1,843 yuan a ton, down 9 yuan from the previous week, and rice at 1,960 yuan a ton, down 1 yuan, while wheat prices rose 1 yuan to trade at 1,900 yuan per ton.

Meanwhile, the contraction in trade volume last week indicated an ample supply of grain on the market, it said.

Corn trade fell by 85,000 tonnes to 340,000 tonnes from the previous week, while that of wheat dropped by 448,000 tonnes to 627,000 tonnes and rice by 259,000 tonnes to 416,000 tonnes.

Due to high import volumes, no soybeans were sold on the market, said the NDRC.

With the consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, at a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in October, the government has been striving to ease commodity price increases and withdraw liquidity.

The government has also been trying to boost agricultural production, increase supplies of farm produce and energy and crack down on speculation. It has pledged to enforce price controls when it considers them necessary.

The People's Bank of China, the central bank, raised benchmark interest rates and hiked the reserve requirement ratio for banks twice in a month.

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