China will continue to strengthen and improve macroeconomic controls next year with an emphasis on preventing widespread inflation, state media have reported. The new Politburo convened yesterday to discuss major economic issues facing the country and outline the policy agenda for the coming year. President and Communist Party chief Hu Jintao chaired the Politburo meeting, which was the first since a new leadership lineup, including a team of economic ministers in waiting, was unveiled last month at the party's five-yearly congress. For next year's economic policies, the central government will seek 'steadfast, constant, relatively fast and harmonious' economic growth, Xinhua reported after the meeting. 'Preventing relatively fast economic growth from overheating and preventing structural inflation from becoming widespread are the top priorities' on the economic agenda next year, it said. The mainland's Consumer Price Index rose 6.5 per cent year on year last month, equalling August's 11-year high of 6.5 per cent. More emphasis would be placed next year on enhancing energy conservation and environmental protection to reflect 'the Scientific Outlook on Development' - President Hu's development theory that was enshrined in the party constitution at its 17th National Congress - Xinhua said. The central government would also boost agriculture and make more efforts to improve the living standards of poor and disadvantaged people, including a series of education, social security and health policies, according to the meeting. The Politburo meeting set the tone for a series of annual economic meetings next month, including the important National Economic Working Conference, which would set the development agenda next year. Mr Hu also met the leaders of non-communist parties yesterday to solicit opinions on economic development and on many hotly debated issues troubling the world's fourth-largest economy. The government has stepped up measures to cool the sizzling economy this year. However, the world's fastest-growing major economy is bound for a fifth consecutive year of double-digit growth.