Chinese Inflation Evaporates In January

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

More evidence that the pace of economic activity in China – especially in manufacturing – is weakening.

Figures on Friday showed consumer inflation moderated last month while producer price inflation almost disappeared to be on the verge of dipping into deflationary levels.

The producer-price index edged up 0.1% in January, slowing from a 0.9% on-year gain in December, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday

That was the slowest since September 2016, when it also inched up 0.1% on year. It suggests demand for manufactured items is weak – perhaps because of the trade war with the US although exports of steel and aluminum products jumped sharply last month even though the US has high tariffs on both products.

Raw material prices fell 0.1% last month, compared with a 1.0% gain in December, while prices of consumer products climbed 0.6% in January, compared with December’s 0.7% growth.

The PPI dropped 0.6% in January from December, when declined 1.0% from the month before.

China’s consumer-price index rose 1.7% in January from a year earlier, compared with a 1.9% increase in December, the bureau said.

January’s increase was the slowest for a year

Food prices rose 1.9% from a year earlier, slowing from December’s 2.5% growth. Nonfood prices rose 1.7% from a year earlier, the same as December’s increase.

The CPI rose 0.5% in January from December (ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday) which started February 4. In December, the index was unchanged from the previous month.

The data follows Thursday’s trade figures for January which were distorted by the usual pull forward of exports and imports ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday break.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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