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September 20, 2017

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Vice Premier Jiang announces aim to maintain CPI below two percent

Vice Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) announced his aim to ensure increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) remain below 2 percent for the rest of the year, while also stressing that the government has worked intensely on adjusting fruit prices.

Following the effects of heavy rainfall, the supply of farm crops have fallen short of consumer demand, causing a steep rise in prices. With the economy remaining stagnant, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics announced that September's CPI had increased 2.96 percent year-on-year on Thursday.

This increase of 2.96 percent was lower than the August CPI increase of 3.42 percent, according to Jiang. "This is a positive signal," he said.

Jiang said related bureaus are optimistic about maintaining the 2 percent goal, assuming no further natural disasters or unexpected events hit Taiwan. "We're all working on it," he said.

In response to predictions that commodity prices might rise in the next month, Jiang replied, "That depends on what commodities we're talking about. Some are related to food, and some are related to entertainment." He then added that the government would pay extra attention to everyday essentials, especially vegetable and fruits prices.

The vice premier further explained: "The commodity prices were greatly affected in August due to severe natural disasters. After the government implemented price-adjustment mechanisms, vegetable prices have dropped to a more stable condition. The government is still working on dropping the fruit prices, so that consumers will feel less pressure over living essentials."

When reporters asked about unusual price rises in some local stores, Jiang said it was important that the Consumer's Foundation, Chinese Taipei was notified of such behavior. "If the claims about the stores' price hikes are confirmed, the government will further investigate the situation, and make sure that the hikes are reasonable," he said.

Earlier in the week, the vice premier had announced that tariff rates levied on three imported fruits — apples, kiwis and pears — would be cut in half in efforts to stabilize market prices.

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