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China fines Unilever for talking about price rises

China's pricing authority has fined consumer product giant Unilever PLC 2 million yuan ($308,000 U.S.) for saying it might increase prices of some for products in China.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a powerful central planning agency, said in a statement on Friday that comments by Unilever officials about possible price rises had "intensified inflationary expectations among consumers" and "seriously distorted market order."

Unilever and Procter & Gamble Co. had said they planned to raise detergent and soap prices in April, citing soaring raw materials costs. But the increases were not carried out because the pricing authority intervened after news of the plan led to panic buying by consumers.

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The government said the high-profile announcement had violated pricing regulations.

Consumer price inflation hit a 32-month high of 5.4 per cent in the year to March. Beijing has put controlling inflation at the top its economic agenda this year.

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