Beijing (Reuters) – China’s central bank has raised its benchmark price of rice, soybeans and wheat in an attempt to prevent the country’s slowing economy from hurting the purchasing power of its people, a major source of foreign exchange for the world’s biggest economy.
The Central Bank of China said on Tuesday that it had set a new benchmark price for rice, wheat and soybeans, which have been rising by 8 percent over the past 12 months.
Rice prices in the Shanghai area, one of the world´s largest rice exporters, rose 9 percent, while wheat rose 13 percent.
Wheat prices rose 6 percent and soybean prices rose 2 percent.
The central bank also raised its monthly price of steel, a key commodity used in some of China´s biggest factories, by 20 percent.
It said the change would allow it to buy more steel to keep up with rising demand.
The bank has also raised the monthly price for steel by 6 percent, it said in a statement.
It said the price rise was part of a wider price rise for the steel sector, which has seen the prices of its major competitors rise more than 10 percent this year.
China is facing a slowdown in its economy and the bank has been trying to rein in its currency to help support its struggling economy.
Its central bank raised its key interest rate to 2 percent on Tuesday.
Its central bank said it would also start to buy some stocks from China International Capital Corp and Shanghai Securities Co, and sell some other assets, such as real estate.