Economic Watch: China's inflation on solid growth as economy stabilizes


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China reported mild consumer inflation growth in October while producer prices posted a strong increase, beating market forecasts.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.9 percent year on year in October,up from September's 1.6 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said in a statement.

This was the biggest increase in nine months, but was still considered moderate compared to the government goal of around 3 percent for the whole year.

The number perfectly met market expectations, and was mainly a result of rising non-food prices, China Merchants Securities said in a research note.

Non-food prices climbed 2.4 percent year on year, with health care prices jumping 7.2 percent from a year earlier. Home rental, education, culture and entertainment also saw rises of more than 2 percent.

Food prices, which account for a significant part of the CPI calculation, dropped 0.4 percent from a year earlier, dragging down the CPI number by 0.08 percentage points, according to NBS statistician Sheng Guoqing.

The price of pork, a staple meat in China, slumped 10.1 percent.

On a monthly basis, the index was up 0.1 percent, lower than the 0.5-percent in the previous month.

As demand fell after the National Day Holiday at the beginning of October, the price of eggs declined 5.4 percent month on month. Air ticket prices and travel agency charges also slumped 9.1 percent and 2.7 percent respectively from a month earlier.

For the first ten months of the year, the CPI climbed 1.5 percent from a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, the CPI is likely to rise at around 2 percent as demand for pork rises, estimated China Merchants Securities.

The mild inflation will not change the central bank's monetary stance, which will stay prudent and neutral, it said.

Thursday's data also showed that China's producer price index (PPI), which measures costs of goods at the factory gate, rose 6.9 percent year on year in October, on par with last month.

The pace was well above market forecast, lifted mainly by a rebound of the international oil price, according to China Merchants Securities.

Factory-gate prices in the oil and gas extraction industry, and oil processing industry went up 5.1 percent and 3.2 percent respectively from a month earlier.

The country's supply-side structural reform as well as environmental policies have provided support for prices in the upstream and midstream sectors, China Merchants Securities said.

Looking forward, PPI will likely trend down in the fourth quarter as there will be fluctuations in international oil prices, but gradual decline of the prices will leave enough room for firms to improve their profits and for banks to reduce their bad loan ratio, it said.

On the back of strong producer prices, China's major industrial firms posted faster profit growth in the first three quarters, contributing to the 6.9-percent growth rate of the overall economy during the period.

Industrial companies with annual revenue of more than 20 million yuan (3 million U.S. dollars) reported profits of 5.58 trillion yuan in the first nine months, up 22.8 percent from a year earlier, previous NBS data showed.

In November, factors including expected lower prices of steel and coal will drag down the PPI, with the index likely to register 5.2-percent growth, said Jiang Chao, a senior researcher at Haitong Securities.

In the first ten months of the year, the PPI climbed 6.5 percent from one year earlier, staying flat with the reading in the January-September period.