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China's CPI to cool to under 5 pct in next two months: NDRC official

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BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- China's stubbornly high consumer prices are set to decline this year, as the government's cooling measures take effect, yet complicated new problems mean economic regulation will be a more arduous process, a senior official said.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, is expected to decline to less than 5 percent in the next two months, said Peng Sen, vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planning agency.

The government has curbed the soaring prices after it increased supplies, cut logistics costs, clamped down on price disorder, and normalized the monetary expansion, Peng said at an economic forum on Saturday.

The growth of the CPI will begin to decelerate in the remaining months this year, he noted.

The government made curbing consumer prices a top priority in this year's macro-economic regulations and vowed to keep the annual growth of the CPI at around 4 percent this year.

The CPI hit a 37-month high of 6.5 percent in July, and eased to 6.2 percent in August and 6.1 percent in September.

Although the anti-inflation battle has been effective, Peng Sen said the complicated domestic and international environment, and the unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development problems, have made economic regulation more complex and challenging.

The global economic recovery has suffered a huge setback and is filled with uncertainties. The faltering U.S. economy, and the sovereign debt crisis and inflation in some countries have made the policy setting in the world's major economies more difficult, he said.

The excessive liquidity globally has apparently not eased the imported inflation pressure, while domestically, economic restructuring faces more pressure, as irrational investment and excessive production capacity keep rising, according to Peng.

So far, it has been the government that has played a major role in transforming the economic development pattern, which leaves the market forces more room in the future, he said.

China's GDP expanded 9.1 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of the year, marking the slowest pace since the third quarter of 2009.

Government officials have said it is a desired outcome of China's macro-economic regulations as the government continues its efforts in reining in inflation and pushing economic restructuring.

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