Price liberalization is being considered for oil, power and other resources in an attempt to curtail widespread waste, state media reported Monday. Bi Jingquan, a deputy minister at the National Development and Reform Commission, was quoted as saying that the government is "determined to make prices more dependent on market forces". Beijing has been wary of easing price controls in case soaring energy prices overwhelm state industries, leading to job losses and potential social unrest. But it is thought that the need to peg back China's runaway growth has forced the authorities' hand somewhat. As a result, coal, electricity, oil, natural gas and water may see significant price increases, although the poorest families would receive subsidies to help cover the difference.
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