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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

China Inflation November 2007

China's inflation accelerated at the quickest pace in 11 years and the trade surplus swelled, adding pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates and let the currency appreciate faster to cool the economy. Consumer prices rose 6.9 percent in November from a year earlier after climbing 6.5 percent in October, the statistics bureau said today.

Surging food and fuel costs and a record $238 billion surplus in the first 11 months have prompted the government to name inflation and overheating as the biggest threats to growth. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is in Beijing to press for yuan gains that would narrow the trade gap and staunch the flow of money into the world's fastest-growing major economy.

The yuan gained by the most in a month against the dollar. The currency, which has climbed 12 percent since a fixed exchange rate was scrapped in July 2005, rose 0.22 percent to 7.3792 per dollar as of 4:46 p.m. in Shanghai from 7.3952 late yesterday. It touched 7.3770, the highest since the end of the dollar link.

The People's Bank of China last week ordered lenders to set aside 14.5 percent of deposits as reserves, up from 13.5 percent. China's one-year lending rate is at a nine-year high of 7.29 percent after five increases this year.

The trade surplus climbed 14.7 percent to $26.3 billion in November from a year earlier, the third-biggest monthly total, the customs bureau said today. The $15.2 billion trade surplus with the U.S. pushed the 11-month total with that country to $149.2 billion.

China's money-supply growth exceeded the central bank's annual target for a 10th straight month as a ballooning trade surplus pumped cash into the world's fastest- growing major economy.

M2, the broadest measure of money supply, rose 18.5 percent to 40 trillion yuan ($5.4 trillion) in November from a year earlier, the People's Bank of China said today on its Web site.

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