China’s consumer inflation slows in February on weaker demand

BEIJING : China’s annual consumer inflation slowed down in February as consumers remained cautious despite the abandonment of strong pandemic controls late last year, official data showed on Thursday.

Producer deflation extended into a fifth month.

The consumer price index (CPI) for the month was 1.0 per cent higher than a year earlier, compared with the 2.1 per cent annual rise seen in January, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The result fell short of the median estimate of a 1.9 per cent gain in a Reuters poll.

The CPI, which is seasonally adjusted, fell 0.5 per cent from a month earlier, missing the forecast of 0.2 per cent gain. The monthly CPI rise in January was 0.8 per cent.

The government has set a target for average consumer prices in 2023 to be about 3 per cent higher than last year, when prices were up 2 per cent on 2021 and fell short of a target for 3 per cent.

The producer price index (PPI) in February fell 1.4 per cent from a year earlier. Economists in a Reuters poll had forecast a fall of 1.3 per cent.

In January the PPI was down 0.8 per cent on a year earlier.

China’s parliament has set what analysts say is a conservative growth target for 2023 gross domestic product of around 5 per cent, a sign that policymakers are aware of economic headwinds.

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