China’s consumer inflation remained high in February amid the coronavirus outbreak, with official price figures also confirming the difficulties faced by manufacturers.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 5.2 per cent from a year earlier, down from a 5.4 per cent gain in January, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. The result matched the median forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg. The producer price index (PPI), reflecting the prices that factories charge wholesalers for their products, dropped 0.3 per cent year-on-year in February, a decline on the 0.1 per cent rise in January. The result was below expectations in a Bloomberg survey for contraction of just 0.3 per cent.

“The coronavirus outbreak is putting downward pressure on inflation. While supply chain disruptions have kept food prices high, weaker demand has weighed on the price of other goods and services,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.

In February, the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus caused a complicated impact on the price trend, the NBS said in a statement. The rise in CPI was largely driven by an increase in food prices due to the implementation of transport control measures across the country, as well as logistic disruptions caused by a shortage of manpower, which increased costs.

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