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Inflation in China Hits a 28-Month High

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Inflation in China has reached its highest point in more than two years. It's driven mostly by the soaring food prices. Chinese authorities are trying to keep prices stable, but economists see no relief any time soon.

The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics announced on Saturday, China's inflation has soared to a 28-month high. The consumer price index rose by 5.1 percent year-on-year in November.

Food was the biggest concern, with prices rising 11.7 percent. Economists say inflation could be spreading to other sectors, with health care up 4 percent and house prices up 5.8 percent.

[Hu Xingdou, Professor of Economics, Beijing Institute of Technology]:
"China will experience a long-term inflation era. Price rises will be seen in sectors like real estate and asset prices, prices of raw materials, commodities, agricultural products and agricultural inputs will also rise rapidly."

Economists blame massive lending and billions of stimulus spending in reaction to the financial crisis.

China's central bank raised lenders' reserve requirements for the third time in a month to sop up some of the excess cash in the economy that is driving prices higher.

Chinese authorities also promised to take a hard line on the hoarding of food and other goods which they say is artificially driving up prices.

But many retired city dwellers still worry they will not have enough money to pay doctor bills if food prices keep rising.

[Ms. Wang, Beijing Resident]:
"For people like us who have retired, with low salaries, you can afford to eat as long as you don't get sick. If you have to see a doctor you soon won't be able to afford to eat."
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