China’s consumer inflation stayed flat in September over last year’s higher comparative basis, while factory-gate price decline further eased, as the world’s second-largest economy maintained a stable recovery, data showed Friday.
China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, remained unchanged in September compared with a year earlier, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The reading came after the index returned to positive territory in August by edging up 0.1 percent from one year earlier.
NBS statistician Dong Lijuan attributed the flat CPI growth to a higher comparative basis from last year.
On a monthly basis, the CPI rose 0.2 percent from the previous month, according to the NBS.
Weaker food prices were a big drag on September’s CPI. Food prices fell 3.2 percent year on year in September, compared with a 1.7 percent decline in August. The price of pork, a staple meat in China, dived 22 percent from one year earlier, while fresh vegetable prices fell 6.4 percent.
Month on month, food prices edged up 0.3 percent from August, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from August’s month-on-month increase, as market supply was relatively sufficient before the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays, Dong said.
Non-food prices posted a rise of 0.7 percent compared to a year earlier, after a 0.5-percent growth in August.
The core CPI, deducting food and energy prices, went up 0.8 percent year on year last month, with the pace of increase unchanged compared with August.
The average CPI from January to September increased 0.4 percent year on year.
The producer price index (PPI), which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, continued to improve amid recovering demand for industrial products and rising international crude oil prices, Dong Lijuan said.
PPI went down 2.5 percent year on year in September, after a decline of 3 percent in August and marking the smallest drop in six months, according to the NBS data.
On a monthly basis, the September PPI edged up 0.4 percent, accelerating from an increase of 0.2 percent in August.
As the country continues to take efforts to boost domestic demand, the PPI will continue its upward trend on a month-on-month basis, said Bruce Pang, the Greater China chief economist of JLL, a real estate and investment management services firm.
With household income and consumption likely to continue improving, China’s consumer prices will maintain a stable recovery in the fourth quarter of the year, said Chen Li, chief economist of Chuancai Securities.
Chen expected the government to take more steps to boost investment and consumption, including lowering the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) and benchmark interest rates as well as defusing risks involving local government debts and in the real estate sector.
China’s central bank has cut financial institutions’ RRR twice this year, by 0.5 percentage points in total and likely to release over one trillion yuan (about 139.3 billion U.S. dollars) in medium and long-term liquidity.
China Construction Bank International (Holdings) Ltd. analysts believed the country will also beef up fiscal support to boost demand and consolidate economic recovery.
In the first half of this year, the country’s GDP recorded a 5.5-percent growth, notably faster than last year’s 3 percent. GDP data for the third quarter is scheduled for release next week.