China consumer inflation slowest in a year

China inflation

Beijing: China’s annual consumer inflation slowed to the lowest rate in a year in February as consumers remained cautious despite the abandonment of pandemic controls late in 2022.

Combined with the persistence of producer deflation, also reported on Thursday, the data showed price pressure had become no obstacle to more government action to support economic recovery from COVID-19 disruption, analysts said.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that the consumer price index (CPI) in February was 1.0% higher than a year earlier, rising at the slowest pace since February 2022.

The result was well below the 2.1% annual rise seen in January.

Commenting on the data, Bruce Pang, chief economist for greater China at JLL, said, “For monetary policy, which is focused on consolidating the economic recovery and achieving stable upward momentum, there is no constraint from an inflation rate that is within the policy target.”

Whereas other countries are suffering decades-high inflation rates, strenuous efforts at controlling COVID-19 in China last year disrupted production and suppressed demand, keeping price pressure contained. Economists expect inflation to strengthen in the coming months, mostly thanks to the end of pandemic controls.