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Survey: Most Urban Chinese Believe Consumer Prices Are High

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Nearly 90 percent of urban Chinese believe consumer prices are too high or moderately high, a survey by the People's Bank of China, the central bank, has shown.

The survey of urban residents in the first quarter showed that the index of current price satisfaction dropped 1.8 percent to minus 15.9 percent, down 6.7 percent from the same period last year.

The survey also showed people were not optimistic about future prices. Up to 44.3 percent of respondents predicted that prices would rise, up 15.6 percent over the first quarter last year.

However, people are positive about future incomes. The confidence index for future income was 25.1 percent, the highest level for the first quarter since 1999 when the survey began.

The quarterly survey was conducted among the 20,000 people in 50 Chinese cities in late February.

The Ministry of Commerce earlier estimated the consumer price index, a major gauge of inflation, was expected to climb 2.5 percent for the whole year of 2007 due to a range of factors, including higher gasoline prices.

The central bank raised one-year benchmark interest rates by 0.27 percentage points as of March 18 amid concerns about inflationary trends.

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