China's consumer inflation, factory price growth both ease
Updated: September 9, 2022 21:33 Xinhua

BEIJING  China's consumer prices and factory-gate inflation both saw moderating upticks in August, amid the country's efforts to secure sufficient supply and stable prices.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 2.5 percent year-on-year in August, easing 0.2 percentage points from July, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Sept 9.

On a monthly basis, August's CPI remained stable, reversing the 0.5-percent rise in July to edge down 0.1 percent, thanks to efforts to contain COVID-19 and extreme weather impacts, as well as efforts to ensure sufficient supply and stable prices, noted Dong Lijuan, a senior statistician with the NBS.

Food prices went up 0.5 percent month-on-month, which raised the monthly consumer inflation by about 0.1 percentage points.

Specifically, the price of pork, a staple meat in China, inched up 0.4 percent in August, contracting 25.2 percentage points over the previous month, as hog slaughter activities returned to normal and consumer demand saw a seasonal weakening, Dong said.

The yearly pork price surged 22.4 percent, expanding by 2.2 percentage points from July, mainly as a result of a lower base last year, according to Dong.

Driven by the pork price hike, the prices of chicken and duck meat climbed 6.6 percent and 12.7 percent year-on-year, respectively, both widening from July.

Entering September, Zheng Houcheng, director of Yingda Securities Research Institute, anticipated that the yearly pork price would probably continue to rise slightly in September on the basis of the August expansion.

Zheng attributed his expectation to reasons including the approaching peak consumption season of the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holiday and a lower comparison base in the same period last year.

The Ministry of Commerce said at a press conference earlier this month that China would closely monitor the supply and prices of staple goods to guarantee market supply during the upcoming festivals.

Frozen pork, beef and mutton from central reserves would be released in batches to increase meat supply, according to the spokesperson for the ministry Shu Jueting.

Non-food prices rose 1.7 percent year-on-year, lifting the yearly consumer inflation by about 1.38 percentage points.

The prices of gasoline and diesel reported year-on-year growth of 20.2 percent and 21.9 percent, respectively.

The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, gained 0.8 percent year-on-year in August, staying flat from the growth pace logged in July.

Commenting on the CPI, Bruce Pang, the Greater China chief economist of real estate and investment management services firm JLL, said the CPI was still in a mild and controllable range, which would not put too much of a squeeze on the maneuvering room of monetary policy toolkits.

Data on Sept 9 also showed that China's producer price index (PPI), which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, went up 2.3 percent year-on-year in August.

The figure moderated from the 4.2 percent year-on-year increase registered in July. On a monthly basis, China's PPI fell 1.2 percent in August.

Due to price fluctuations of bulk commodities, including international crude oil and non-ferrous metals, and weak domestic demand, the prices of industrial products as a whole fell last month, Dong said.

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