China economy

China consumer prices drop for first time in over a decade

Agence France-Presse
China consumer prices drop for first time in over a decade

PORK. A vendor cuts pork ribs at a market in Shenyang, in China's northeastern Liaoning province, on December 9, 2020.

Photo by AFP

Pork prices in China drop 12.5% in November 2020, dragging inflation down

China’s consumer prices dropped more than expected in November on falling food costs, with a key gauge turning negative for the first time in 11 years due to pork prices, according to official data released on Wednesday, December 9.

The consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of retail inflation, fell 0.5% on-year due to a high base of comparison in the same period last year, said Beijing’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

This continued a recent slide driven by easing prices of pork – a staple meat in the world’s second largest economy whose prices rocketed after an African swine fever outbreak ravaged stocks.

Pork prices dropped 12.5%, widening October’s fall and dragging the headline figure down, while other food items such as eggs, chicken, and duck also saw a slide in prices compared with last year.

But core CPI, which strips out food and energy prices, “continued to remain stable,” rising 0.5% from a year ago, official data showed.

Capital Economics’ senior China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said November’s headline figure was “almost entirely driven by improvements in pork supply and isn’t evidence of faltering demand.”

“To the contrary, broader price pressures are starting to pick up on the back of the improvement in economic activity,” he added.

There was improvement in factory-gate prices, however, with the producer price index (PPI) falling 1.5% on-year last month – a smaller drop than the 1.8% fall a Bloomberg poll of analysts expected.

NBS senior statistician Dong Lijuan said “market demand continued to pick up, and industrial product prices continued to rise” in November.

PPI measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, and prices have been dragged by the coronavirus fallout.

OCBC Bank’s head of Greater China research Tommy Xie told Agence France-Presse, “The improving PPI definitely reinforces the expectation that the Chinese [economic] recovery is on track.” –

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