China Inflation Rate Slows To 2-Year Low In February


China's consumer prices rose 0.8 percent year-on-year in February 2017, compared to a 2.5 percent rise in January while markets expected an 1.7 percent gain. It was the lowest inflation rate since January 2015, as cost of transport and communication rose at a slower pace while food prices fell.

In February, the politically sensitive food prices declined by 4.3 percent (from 2.7 percent in the prior month) while non-food cost rose 2.2 percent (from 2.5 percent). Cost of consumer goods declined 0.1 percent (from 2.2 percent) and those of services went up 2.4 percent (from 3.2 percent).

Among food, prices fell for: pork (-0.9 percent from 7.1 percent in a month earlier), fresh vegetables (-26.0 percent from 1.6 percent), eggs (-14.9 percent from -9.1 percent), milk (-0.2 percent from -0.5 percent) and tobaco (-0.2 percent from -0.2 percent). In addition, prices rose at a slower pace for fresh fruits (2.1 percent from 4.8 percent).

For non-food categories, cost went up less than in the preceding month for: household goods and services (0.5 percent from 0.6 percent), transport & communication (1.7 percent from 2.3 percent); education, culture & recreation (1.8 percent from 3.3 percent) and other goods and services (3.1 percet from 4.8 percent). In contrast, cost rose at a faster pace for: clothing (1.2 percent from 1.1 percent); rent, fuel & utilities (2.5 percent from 2.3 percent) and healthcare (5.1 from 5.0 percent).

On a monthly basis, consumer prices unexpectedly declined by 0.2 percent, following a 1.0 percent rise in a month earlier and missing market consensus of a 0.6 percent rise. It was the first drop since October 2016. 

The producer price index rose 7.8 percent year-on-year in February of 2017, faster than a 6.9 percent rise in January and slightly above markets consensus of a 7.7 percent gain. It was the sixth straight month of increase and the fastest since September 2008, as cost went up for most categories, including: means of production (10.4 percent from 9.1 percent in the prior month), namely extraction (36.1 percent), raw materials (15.5 percent) and processing (6.6 percent); consumer goods (0.8 percent from 0.8 percent), namely food production (1.1 percent), clothing (1.3 percent) and daily use goods (1.5 percent). In contrast, prices of consumer durable declined by 0.6 percent. 

Statistics China | Rida Husna | rida@tradingeconomics.com
3/9/2017 10:50:05 AM