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China Economic Update


China’s consumer inflation rose further in April, while factory-gate prices picked up the growth pace due to increasing commodity prices and the country’s solid recovery momentum, according to official data released Tuesday.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 0.9 percent year on year in April, up from the 0.4-percent growth rate in March, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The domestic consumer demand continued to recover and overall prices were kept stable last month, said Dong Lijuan, an NBS senior statistician.

Non-food prices went up 1.3 percent year on year in April, compared with the 0.7-percent increase in March, with prices of air tickets surging 26.9 percent, while cultural and entertainment services edged up 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

Food prices went down 0.7 percent year on year, dragging down consumer inflation by 0.14 percentage points, according to the NBS.

The structural growth in CPI is increasingly noticeable, Wen Bin, a chief analyst at China Minsheng Bank noted, adding that the momentum of growing non-food prices is increasingly evident.

The carryover effect sent the CPI inflation up by 0.1 percentage points, while new price increases pulled the growth up by 0.8 percentage points, the NBS data shows.

On a monthly basis, the CPI declined 0.3 percent, narrowing from the 0.5-percent decline in March. Food prices went down 2.4 percent, while non-food prices gained 0.2 percent due to expanding travel demand and rising raw material prices, the NBS said.

“We expect headline CPI inflation to jump to around 1.8 percent year on year in May,” Lu Ting, chief China economist with securities firm Nomura said, expecting that slightly higher non-food price inflation and favorable base effects would contribute to the growth target.

China has set its consumer inflation target at around 3 percent for the year 2021, according to the government work report this year.

Tuesday’s data also showed China’s producer prices rose at a faster pace in April following the stable recovery of domestic industrial production and soaring prices of some global commodities, according to Dong.

The producer price index (PPI), which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, went up 6.8 percent year on year in April, accelerating from the 4.4-percent rise in March, the NBS data showed.

PPI is expected to fall in the second half of 2021, Guo Liyan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research predicted, expecting relevant government organs to implement potent measures to increase market supply and commodity prices to ease on more balanced supply and demand.

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S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D. Economist at Knightsbridge holds a Ph.D. in Economics and brings with him over 25 years of trading experience in Asia and hands on experience in Venture Capital, he has been involved in several start ups that have seen market capitalization over $500m and 1 that reach a peak market cap of $15b. He has managed and overseen start ups in Crypto, Mining, Shipping, Technology and Financial Services.