Beijing, May 12 (efe-epa).- China’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), the main inflation indicator, grew 3.3 percent year-on-year in April against the 4.3 percent growth it posted in the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday.
The figure is below analysts’ forecasts, which had predicted an increase in inflation of around 3.7 percent in April.
This is the lowest data since September 2019 (inflation reached 5.4 percent in January) and comes amid government control to contain the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic and economic stimulus measures to revive the economy after the halt caused by the virus.
NBS statistician Dong Lijuan said that the moderation in inflation was mainly due to the consolidation of the trend of prevention and control of the epidemic and the acceleration of production and normal life.
The agency’s data shows that, as in previous months, the main driver behind the inter-annual increase in the CPI was rising food prices that increased 14.8 percent as compared to 18.3 percent in March.
The price of pork, one of the most sought-after products by Chinese consumers, continued to rise and increased by 96.9 percent year-on-year last month (it rose 116.4 percent year-on-year in March and 135 percent in February) as its production has been affected by an outbreak of African swine fever that has decimated the pig population in the Asian country.
Prices of vegetables increased 3.7 percent while those of fresh fruit decreased by 10.5 percent and of eggs fell by 2.7 percent.
On the other hand, the NBS said that prices of non-food items increased by 0.4 percent – they rose by 0.7 percent in the previous month – while those of consumer goods increased by 4.7 percent and of services by 0.9 percent.
The cost of healthcare rose 2.2 percent year-on-year in April while that of education, culture and entertainment increased by 2 percent.
However, prices in the transport and communications sector fell by 4.9 percent while prices of clothing and homes decreased by 0.4 percent and 0.3 percent respectively.
The NBS also announced that the Production Price Index (PPI), which measures wholesale inflation, decreased by 3.1 percent year-on-year in April after falling by 1.5 percent in March and 0.4 percent in February.
British economic research consultancy Capital attributed the sharp decline in the CPI and PPI last month to the continued weak demand.
“Price pressures are likely to ease further in the coming months, strengthening the case for additional monetary easing,” it said.
“Weak employment conditions and a sharp downturn in external demand are likely to weigh on demand-side price pressures for some time,” added the consultancy, which predicted that food and energy price inflation would continue to fall in the months ahead, dragging inflation down further. EFE-EPA