Monetary policy stance
By Joy Lu (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-07-31 15:21

A monetary policymaker has stressed the necessity to rein in inflation, indicating the central bank is not wavering from its stringent measures.

"It's unlikely for a country to loosen up its monetary policy when the CPI is as high as 7 or 8 percent," said Fan Gang, a member of the monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China (PBOC).

"This is not just an economic issue, this is also a social issue," said the economist who also heads the national economic research institute at the China Reform Foundation.

He made the comments at a forum by Hong Kong organization Y. Elites when a participant asked whether China is missing a development window by tightening the monetary policy.

Emphasizing the need to curb inflation, Fan said: "When prices get out of control, it's a very difficult situation."

His message is in line with that of PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan, who has reiterated "policy continuity" in response to a new round of speculation that Beijing may ease its tough monetary stance taken to cool down the economy.

The speculation was sparked by a statement from the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Friday in which the top decision-making body of the Party prioritized the need to "maintain stable but rapid economic growth" along with the urgency to fight inflation.

This was widely interpreted as a sign of a policy shift. Analysts also pointed to the disappearance of the term "tight monetary policy" in both the Politburo statement and a PBOC statement on Sunday.

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