China's factory prices fall at slower pace in November, consumer prices decline

FILE PHOTO: An employee works on a production line manufacturing steel structures at a factory in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China May 17, 2020. China Daily via REUTERS

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s factory gate prices fell at a slower pace in November, adding to signs that the economy continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but consumer prices declined for the first time in over a decade on falling food prices.

The producer price index (PPI) fell 1.5% from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement on Tuesday. The index was expected to ease 1.8%, according to the median forecast in a Reuters poll, after a 2.1% drop in October.

The consumer price index (CPI) unexpectedly fell 0.5% in November from a year earlier, the first decline since October 2009, after rising 0.5% in October.

Analysts in a Reuters poll forecast no change in consumer prices, and the 0.5% fall was lower than any individual forecast in the poll.

The fall in year-on-year CPI was mostly driven by volatile food prices, which dropped 2% from a year ago in November. Core inflation – which excludes food and energy costs – remained benign last month at 0.5%,unchanged from October.

China has seen a steady recovery since it was hard hit by the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, when authorities imposed lockdowns and travel restrictions to contain the virus.

Recent data showed China’s exports grew at the fastest pace in almost three years in November while manufacturing activity also expanded at its quickest rate in more than three years that month.

But some analysts say the recovery has been uneven, with certain sectors struggling with the appreciation of the yuan or with still tepid global demand.

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