Inflation returned to China last month for the first time since the start of the year, according to official statistics released on Friday. The consumer price index rose 0.4% in March over one year after two months of decline (-0.2% in February and -0.3% in January), announced the National Bureau of Statistics (BNS). This increase is slightly higher than the predictions of analysts polled by the Bloomberg agency, who were betting on average on an increase of 0.3%.
Pork prices, which had skyrocketed in recent years following an African swine fever outbreak, fell last month, but the drop was offset by higher prices for fresh fruit as well as gasoline.
Increase in international commodity prices
The most spectacular increase is that of producer prices, which soared 4.4% in March over one year, after an increase of 1.7% in February, their largest increase since July 2018. Analysts on average expected an increase of only 3.6%.
The baseline for March 2020 was particularly low due to the coronavirus pandemic that crippled the Chinese economy early last year, before a reboot in the second quarter.
The SNB attributed the rise in producer prices to rising international commodity prices, including oil and iron ore.
Experts are optimistic about activity in China, the Asian giant being the first major economy on the planet to emerge from the pandemic after the appearance of Covid-19 in the country at the end of 2019. The Monetary Fund International (IMF) this week raised its growth forecast for China in 2021 to 8.4%, after 2.3% for 2020.