Consumer inflation in China nudged down in December 2021 on the back of easing food and energy costs

Beijing (AFP) - Consumer inflation in China nudged down in December, official data showed Wednesday, on the back of easing food and energy costs.

The consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of retail inflation in the world’s second-biggest economy, rose 1.5 percent on-year, down from 2.3 percent in November and slightly below analysts’ expectations.

“The market volume of fresh vegetables has increased and prices have dropped from a high level,” National Bureau of Statistics senior statistician Dong Lijuan said in a statement.

She added that with winter coming to an end and the accelerated slaughter of live pigs, pork prices have moderated as well.

According to the NBS, the cost of the staple meat dropped 36.7 percent on-year, a faster rate of decline than in November.

Pork prices drove China’s CPI up in recent years as African swine fever ravaged stocks, but officials have worked to bring costs down.

Meanwhile, factory inflation came in lower than expected on-year as well at 10.3 percent in December.

A Bloomberg survey of economists had forecast the on-year rise of the producer price index (PPI) – which measures the cost of goods at the factory gate – at 11.3 percent.

It was the second straight month of easing PPI, after the index rose for four consecutive months and piled pressure on officials to stop costs from spiralling out of control.

Apart from policies to ensure supplies and costs remained stable, Dong said prices of industrial products dropped as well due to falls in international commodity prices.

For the full year of 2021, CPI rose 0.9 percent and PPI 8.1 percent compared with 2020.