China’s factory-gate prices maintain strength in October

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese factory prices continued to surge in October, with data yesterday showing a bigger-than-forecast jump owing to an anti-pollution clampdown that has driven up commodity prices.

In a drive to clean up the country’s smog-ridden cities the government has moved to wind down production at some at steel factories and smelters, and President Xi Jinping last month emphasised environmental prote-ction at the Communist Party congress.

The clean-air policy, which has been stepped up going into the winter when pollution worsens, has led to tighter supplies in turn lifting prices. And the National Statistics Bureau said the producer price index (PPI), an important barometer of the industrial sector, held still at 6.9 per cent last month, beating expectations of 6.6 per cent in a Bloomberg News survey.

The consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of retail inflation, hit 1.9 per cent, higher than the 1.6 per cent in September.

The figures will likely provide a boost to China’s leadership as they strive to retool the world’s number two economy so it is driven by domestic demand and away from one reliant on state investment and exports.