Consumer price growth eases amid return to normality

Yuan Luhang
Moderating food prices helped bring China's CPI growth to 3.3 percent in April, down from 4.3 percent in March. Producer prices also headed lower.
Yuan Luhang
Consumer price growth eases amid return to normality

China’s consumer inflation continued to ease in April on retreating food prices as economic activity and social life resumed amid enhanced epidemic containment in the country.

China's Consumer Price Index, a main gauge of inflation, grew 3.3 percent year on year last month, moderating from a 4.3-percent gain in March, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices headed down 0.9 percent. Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of weighting in China’s CPI, went down 3 percent.

Dong Lijuan, a senior statistician at the bureau, noted: “Falling food prices led to 0.70 percentage points of the index’s decline, which was the main factor bringing the CPI down.”

Vegetable prices came down 8 percent month on month on increasing supplies as the weather warms in April. Pork prices continued to decline 7.6 percent as supplies rose amid recovering hog production. Fruit and egg prices both headed down 2.2 percent.

Non-food prices went down 0.2 percent, leading the CPI down by 0.17 points.

In non-food categories, affected by fluctuations of international crude oil prices, gasoline, diesel and liquefied petroleum gas prices came down 7.5 percent, 8.2 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Airline ticket prices rose 5.6 percent as people increased travel amid accelerating work and production restoration.

Compared with the same period last year, food prices remained elevated due to the coronavirus outbreak, rising 14.8 percent, contributing to 2.98 percentage points of the index’s growth.

The upturn of food prices was mainly due to surging pork prices, which rose 96.9 percent year on year, easing from 116.4 percent last month.

Prices for beef, mutton, chicken and duck increased 20.5 percent in April year on year, slower than last month.

Fruit and vegetable prices went down 10.5 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.

Non-food prices rose 0.4 percent in April year on year, contributing to 0.31 percentage points of the index’s growth.

Of non-food categories, prices for health care, education, culture and entertainment sector rose by 2.2 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.

Transport and communication prices fell 4.9 percent year on year in April.

The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, grew 1.1 percent from a year earlier in April, narrowing 0.1 percentage point from March.

Also released on Tuesday, China's producer prices continued to fall in April, with the Producer Price Index, which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, falling 3.1 percent year on year in April.

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