Sun, Jun 08, 2008 - Page 11 News List

Council says first priority is stable commodity prices

RETHINKINGThe top task of the government is to fight rising prices, not focus on increasing the nation’s economic growth, the CEPD said yesterday

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said yesterday that the government’s top priority would be stabilizing commodity prices amid the sluggish global economy and high inflation.

The council said that domestic economic growth was expected to remain stable and was therefore not its primary concern.

The negative effects of the subprime crisis have largely passed as a result of the US Federal Reserve’s intervention measures, including cutting interest rates and injecting more liquidity into credit markets, the council said.

Many analysts expect the US economy to begin to rebound in the second half of this year, it said.

With the nation’s economic growth forecast at 4.78 percent for this year, the council said the government would focus on dealing with the more urgent problem of inflation.

The council said the country’s wholesale price index was expected to increase by 5.9 percent this year, while the consumer price index (CPI) is forecast to rise by 3.3 percent.

With rising oil and commodity prices, coupled with the hikes in domestic fuel and electricity prices last month and the fact that inflationary pressure is expected to increase, price stabilization has become “the government’s most urgent task,” the council said, as it must lessen the impact of these forces on the public.

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