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Consumer, producer prices stay steady

Ouyang Shijia
Updated: Feb 16,2019 7:21 AM     China Daily

China’s consumer and producer price indexes rose less than forecast in January, official data showed on Feb 15.

The consumer price index, a key gauge of the prices for goods and services, rose 1.7 percent year-on-year in January, lower than the expectations of 1.9 percent growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The CPI rose 1.9 percent in December.

“The Spring Festival holiday in early February and the cold weather kept demand on an even keel in January,” said Lin Shu, an analyst with China Merchant Securities.

Experts said the prices and indicators are in line with the slower economic growth and said stable economic development will keep prices steady.

A research report by the Development Research Center of the State Council estimated that the prevention and control of African swine fever, the development of the housing rental market, the progress in advancing consumption policy and the implementation of a new personal income tax policy in 2019 will help stabilize CPI growth.

The report said structural changes in consumption will gradually enhance the impact of services on CPI. In addition, the CPI is set to show a high-to-low year-on-year growth trend in 2019, with the annual inflation level expected to be around 2.2%, the report said.

China’s January producer price index, which measures price increases before they reach consumers, rose 0.1 percent from a year ago, lower than the expected 0.3 percent rise, data from NBS showed.

For the second month in a row, the index hit the lowest level since September 2016. In December, the PPI grew 0.9 percent year-on-year, according to the bureau.

The latest data saw PPI for January drop by 0.6 percent month-on-month and the prices of production materials by 0.8 percent.

“A moderate rise in prices is likely this year,” Ning Jizhe, head of the NBS, said during a news conference in Beijing last month.

A research report published by the NBS noted that, buoyed by supply-side structural reforms, the country’s economy has registered a slower but stable performance with good momentum for growth.

In 2018, China’s gross domestic product grew by 6.6 percent year-on-year, compared with 6.8 percent in 2017, data from NBS showed. The country has also achieved its goal of around 6.5 percent GDP growth set for 2018.

The report estimated the year-on-year GDP growth will reach 6.3 percent in 2019.

According to the report, the overall prices level will remain stable this year on the back of steady economic development and prudent monetary policy. The CPI and PPI are set to rise 2.1 percent and 2.3 percent respectively this year, the NBS said.