The administrative measures the central government began applying late last year to cool the economy were always meant to be a slight tap on the brakes - to curb overinvestment in certain sectors but not to stop growth altogether. Based on some of the numbers that have been streaming in, from fixed investment to loan growth and money supply growth, it would seem the policies are having their intended effect. No major policy changes should be expected in the next month or two. But after that, other questions arise, including what to do about some of the economic anomalies created by, or at least co-existing with, the administrative measures used to create this much-needed economic cooling. One is the continuing rise in housing prices, as the new restrictions make supply scarcer. In Shanghai, perhaps the most speculative market, prices rose by more than a fifth in the second quarter from the same period last year. Nationwide, the cost of housing rose 4.9 per cent year on year, as reflected in the latest consumer inflation numbers. If the official pronouncements ahead of the consumer numbers' release is anything to go by, there will be no immediate action - and probably not until all the third-quarter data is in. But housing costs are going to be something that policymakers will have to keep their eyes on, in addition to soaring food and energy prices. Grain prices were nearly a third higher in July than they were last year, despite recent curbs on converting agricultural land to other uses, and whether the effect of the new policies kicks in this autumn will be something to watch out for. As for energy, the record highs being recorded in international market prices present a risk for all economies, not just China's, and are to a great extent beyond the mainland's control, but they could be a large factor in producer- and consumer-price inflation. All of this points to the possibility that inflation has yet to peak, despite the best hopes of some economists and the central bank itself. If the rate jumps far above July's 5.3 per cent in the coming months - thus running ahead of the 5.3 per cent benchmark one-year loan rate, creating real interest rates of less than zero and setting the stage for spiralling prices - Beijing will find it harder to argue against taking action. This is the case in the US, where the Federal Reserve has just raised its rate to 1.5 per cent and broadly hinted that it plans to close the gap with inflation, which stands at about 3 per cent. Signs of sluggish growth including near-zero job creation last month - in an economy that is supposed to be several years into a recovery cycle - do not seem to be deterring the Fed at all. But then again, the US economy is one where monetary policy is often the first resort of economic planners, as opposed to the last. One side effect of a rising interest-rate environment in the US is that it has provoked some mainland economists to suggest that now is the perfect time to begin easing the yuan's peg to the US dollar, as higher rates abroad are helping to ease the flow into the mainland of 'hot money' speculating on a yuan revaluation. This is an interesting proposition but not likely to be entertained seriously while central bankers are focused on keeping economic growth on track and responding to inflation. For now, we can expect the mainland to stay on the current path, which includes continued pressure to rein in fixed investment and loan growth. As producer prices are showing signs of slowing, it is possible that consumer inflation will ease. But the unknowns here are food, oil and housing - and the extent to which they will fuel further rises in the consumer price index. Beijing's preference seems to be for administrative measures to have some effect before raising interest rates - and to save the option as a last resort. But if consumer inflation sees a big jump this autumn, it may not have much choice.