China: Inflation increases in March
April 11, 2014
In March, consumer prices fell 0.5% over the previous month, which contrasted the 0.5% increase tallied in February and marked the largest decline in 10 months. The monthly drop mainly reflected lower prices for food, housing as well as for recreation, education and culture articles. Annual inflation rose from 2.0% in February to 2.4% in March. The print was in line with market expectations. The trend, however, stabilized, with annual average inflation remaining at the previous month's 2.6%. Meanwhile, the producer price index fell 2.3% in March over the same month last year (February: -2.0% year-on-year), which slightly exceeded the 2.2% decline that market analysts had expected. As a result, the annual average variation of the producer price index declined from minus 1.9% in February to minus 2.0% in March. At China's annual National People's Congress held in early March, Prime Minister Li Keqiang set a target rate for consumer price inflation of 3.5% for 2014, the same goal as in 2013. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast participants expect that inflation will average 3.0% in 2014, which is unchanged from last month's estimate. In 2015, the panel sees inflation inching up to 3.1%.