Economic Watch: China sees flat inflation growth in August

BEIJING (Xinhua) – China’s consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 2.8 per cent year on year in August, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said yesterday.

The growth rate was unchanged from that in July. Food prices grew 10 per cent year on year last month, up from 9.1 per cent in July, while non-food prices gained 1.1 per cent, 0.2 percentage points lower than that of July.

Food contributed to 1.93 percentage points of the 2.8-per cent growth, with fruits and other main meat products registering double-digit year-on-year growth in August, said NBS senior statistician Shen Yun.

“The upward pressure for overall CPI this time will likely be visibly less severe than in many of the past food price inflation cycles, as soft aggregate demand growth may dampen non-food CPI and keep the spillover of food price inflation relatively limited,” the note said.

China aims to keep consumer inflation at around three per cent in 2019, according to a government work report.

Yesterday’s data also showed that the CPI in urban and rural areas registered a year-on-year growth of 2.8 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively. The producer price index (PPI), which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, dropped 0.8 per cent year on year in August.

Higher CPI than PPI usually indicates faster income growth for the household sector versus the corporate sector, and faster rural household income growth versus that of urban ones, CICC’s macro team said in the note.