China consumer prices rebound



via Taipai Times (Taiwan) - Jan 12, 2021


AFP, BEIJING / China’s consumer prices rebounded last month, official data showed yesterday, as food prices picked up due to weather difficulties and rising demand ahead of the Lunar New Year festival.


The consumer price index (CPI) rose more than expected at 0.2 percent year-on-year, the Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said, with prices increasing for fresh produce and meats, such as pork, beef and mutton, ahead of next month’s nationwide holiday.


“Due to continued low temperatures, the production, storage and transportation costs of fresh vegetables and fruit increased,” bureau senior statistician Dong Lijuan (董莉娟) said.


The index is a key gauge of retail inflation, and the rebound follows the first negative reading in more than a decade the month before as food costs fell.


Dong said that consumer demand was picking up due to New Year’s Day and the upcoming Lunar New Year, bumping up prices of other food items.


However, pork prices, which rocketed previously after an African swine fever outbreak ravaged pig stocks, last month continued to drop by 1.3 percent year-on-year as supplies of the staple meat recovered.


For the whole of last year, consumer prices rose 2.5 percent annually.


Consumer prices may slip back into deflation over the next couple of months due to a jump in pork prices a year ago, but this should prove temporary,” Capital Economics Ltd senior China economist Julian Evans-Pritchard said.


On Friday, China’s first live hog futures began trading, which officials hope will help halt price fluctuations...