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Horse-Meat Prices Monitored by China in First Detailed CPI List

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March 18 (Bloomberg) -- China for the first time published a complete list of goods that form the basis for the consumer price index, a step toward improving data transparency in the world’s second-biggest economy.

The list running about 30 pages from the National Bureau of Statistics released today includes chicken, duck and pigeon eggs, horse, donkey and camel meat, as well as wine and non-alcoholic beer. Previously, the agency had only given broad categories of products. It still doesn’t disclose the weighting of items, in contrast with the U.S.

“It should be welcomed as it increases transparency in China’s data,” said Joy Yang, chief Greater China economist at Mirae Asset Financial Group in Hong Kong, who previously worked at the International Monetary Fund. At the same time, the lack of weightings of groups or items and the omission of how prices are collected make it difficult for independent economists to gauge inflation, Yang said.

China’s new economic team under Premier Li Keqiang is grappling with the task of sustaining a recovery from the slowest growth in 13 years while keeping prices in check. Zhou Xiaochuan, reappointed as central bank governor last week, said the nation should be on “high alert” over inflation after February’s figure reached a 10-month-high of 3.2 percent.

The statistics bureau said in 2010 that it has about 4,000 people collecting information around the country for the CPI and solicits prices from 50,000 retail outlets, markets, hospitals and cinemas in 500 cities and counties.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Xin Zhou in Beijing at xzhou68@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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