November CPI jumps 1.9pc but inflation risk seen as small Soaring grain prices helped propel the mainland's consumer price index (CPI) 1.9 per cent last month, but analysts say the rise is not a cause for alarm. The National Bureau of Statistics announced yesterday that the CPI grew 1.9 per cent year on year in November, 0.5 percentage points higher than in October. The bureau said the main cause of the CPI growth was the rise in the price of grain-based foods, with food in general - which accounts for a third of the CPI - becoming 3.7 per cent more expensive year on year last month. Cooking oil prices rose 6.2 per cent for the period, meat was 7.6 per cent more expensive and consumers paid 11.7 per cent more for eggs, the bureau said. In contrast, retail telecommunications prices dropped by 17.6 per cent, transport was 2.4 per cent less expensive and the cost of pharmaceuticals was 1.6 per cent lower than at the same time last year. The central government has been trying to rein in rapidly rising grain prices since late October through various measures, including selling off some state grain reserves. National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice-Minister Bi Jingquan said on Sunday the government would step up grain price controls and try to stabilise basic commodity prices next year. He urged local price administrations to 'keep a close eye on price changes for important commodities, including grain, oil and steel' on both domestic and overseas markets. Mr Bi also said precautions should be taken to prevent rapid price rises in certain regions for certain types of commodities. The NDRC, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Grain Administration have arranged four major grain auctions in the past fortnight in Zhengzhou , Hefei and Heihe , putting up to 3 million tonnes of grain reserves on the market to ease a shortage caused by increased demand from food manufacturers. Preparations are under way for the sale of a further 1 million tonnes or so of wheat in Zhengzhou, Hefei and Hebei , according to the State Grain Bureau. Analyst Liu Zhengmin from the Zhengzhou Grain Wholesale Market said the local grain price had dropped from its mid-November peak, thanks to the auctions. But Beijing Normal University economics professor Zhong Wei predicted grain prices would continue to rise until they were reasonable compared with other consumer goods, although the increases were not likely to affect the CPI too much nor trigger inflation. 'The rise in the price of grain and other agricultural products will in the long term be pushed up by higher rural labour costs but it will not cause too much inflation trouble on the mainland because food makes up less than one third of residents' consumption,' Professor Zhong said.