China cancels export rebates for grain

BEIJING (AP) - China has canceled export-tax rebates on wheat and other grains, the government said Tuesday, in an apparent effort to slow a surge in food prices by encouraging producers to sell more at home. 

The step added to a string of government measures to rein in food price inflation that soared to a monthly rate of 18.2 in November, driven by shortages of pork, grain and other items. 

The cancellation of export-tax rebates takes effect Thursday and applies to wheat, corn and 82 other categories of grains, the Finance Ministry said on its Web site.  

Beijing offers rebates on export taxes to various producers to promote exports. 

The step would make it less profitable for Chinese producers to export grains and encourage them to sell more at home. 

The inflation surge has been especially hard on China's poor, who spend up to half their incomes on food. 

Economists say they expect inflation to ease as a new grain crop comes to market and government efforts to encourage farmers to raise more pigs begin to take effect. 

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