China made fresh assurances that it will keep inflation in check, saying it will improve efforts to stabilize prices and ensure an abundant supply of essential commodities ahead of the Chinese New Year.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sunday that China's government will be able to keep prices at a reasonable level, a day after the central bank raised interest rates for a second time in just over two months to counter stubbornly high inflation.

Cracking down on price speculation and related market manipulation should be high on the agenda of governments at all levels, Xinhua news agency said late on Sunday, citing a circular issued jointly by the General Offices of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the State Council, or China's Cabinet.

The circular also urged tighter supervision of the food and medicine markets and called on related departments to distribute subsidies to low-income groups.

China will maintain its crackdown on price speculation in 2011, focusing on cotton, edible oils, grains and vegetables, the country's top planning body, the National Development and Reform Commission, said last Thursday.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Nick Macfie)