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China’s consumer prices jump by the most in more than two years

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China’s consumer price index increased by 2.8% in September from a year ago as prices of food, especially pork, rose.
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BEIJING — China’s consumer prices rose in September at their fastest pace in more than two years as pork prices climbed, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday.

The consumer price index increased by 2.8% last month from a year ago, matching expectations from a Reuters poll.

That marked the fastest pace since a 3.3% year-on-year increase in April 2020, according to Wind Information.

Much of the gains came from a continued pickup in pork prices, which rose by 36% year-on-year for their biggest rise since August 2020, Wind data showed. Pork, a food staple in China, has a significant weighting in the country’s official consumer price index.

However, other indicators pointed to subdued consumer demand.

Excluding food and energy, so-called core CPI rose by only 0.6% from a year ago — the slowest pace since March 2021, according to Wind.

China’s producer price index rose by 0.9% in September from a year ago, missing the Reuters estimate of 1%. The index grew by its slowest since January 2021, according to Wind.

The weak core CPI and a disappointing slowdown in China’s producer price index reflect soft Chinese consumer demand and declining overseas demand, said Bruce Pang, chief economist and head of research, Greater China, JLL.

He said the producer price index is expected to decline further and potentially enter negative territory in the coming months.

Impact on U.S. inflation

Changes in China’s producer price index tend to precede similar changes in that of the U.S. by about one or two months, Francoise Huang, senior economist at Allianz Trade, said in a phone interview earlier this week.

She said the weaker Chinese economy may help central banks in other countries that are fighting domestic inflation.

Following decades-high price increases, the U.S. Federal Reserve has raised interest rates five times this year, and is expected to hike rates again in three weeks.

U.S. producer prices moderated in September to an 8.5% rise over the preceding 12 months, down from 8.7% in August, according to data released this week.

As a measure of factory costs, producer prices can have some indication on what consumers ultimately pay.

U.S. consumer prices remained elevated in September — up by 8.2% from a year ago, according to data released Thursday.

— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed to this report.

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