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11 September, 2015 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 10 September, 2015 10:14:15 PM
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China producer prices slump

AFP
China producer prices slump
A young Chinese girl selects fruit at a supermarket in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province yesterday. China's consumer inflation hit a 12-month high in August, driven by rising pork costs, authorities said yeterday, but factory gate prices fell at their fastest in nearly six years in a mixed picture for the world's second-largest economy. AFP PHOTO

AFP, BEIJING: China’s factory gate prices fell at their fastest rate in six years in August, the government said yesterday, as Premier Li Keqiang warned that transforming the world’s second-largest economy will be a “painful and treacherous” process.
But Li expressed confidence the country will hit its expansion target of around seven per cent, as Beijing looks to soothe fears about a growth slowdown that have rocked global financial markets in recent weeks.
Moderate inflation can be a boon to consumption as it pushes buyers to act before prices go up, while falling prices encourage shoppers to delay purchases and companies to put off investment, both of which can hurt economic expansion.
But prices for China’s factory-produced goods have fallen as growth has slowed and overseas demand slackened, while the key property market has also weakened, hitting demand for construction materials.
Plants—many of them state-owned—are also loath to drastically cut employees, leading to continued production even when demand is weak.
China’s producer price index (PPI) declined 5.9 per cent in August, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
The result was the worst since a 7.0 per cent fall in September 2009 and marked the 42nd consecutive monthly drop.
Growth in China’s gross domestic product (GDP) hit a 24-year low last year, expanding 7.3 per cent amid a steady slowdown from years of double-digit expansion. It has decelerated further this year, increasing 7.0 per cent in each of the first two quarters.
“We are quite concerned by deepening PPI deflation,” Nomura economists said in a research note.
“Month-on-month deflation has worsened in the third quarter, which is consistent with weaker growth momentum.”
PPI is a leading indicator for consumer inflation, which rose to 2.0 per cent in August, the NBS said, its highest in 12 months.
China is looking to move its economy from the investment- and export-led model of the past to one driven by consumer demand, and Premier Li told a World Economic Forum meeting in Dalian that it “is going to be a painful and treacherous process”.
But he insisted China did not threaten the world economy, and was itself buffeted by global trends.
“China is not a source of risk for the world economy but a source of strength for global growth,” Li said, stressing that it accounted for about 30 per cent of world economic expansion in the first half of this year.
“Given the weak growth of the global economy, China cannot stay unaffected and the deep-seated problems that have built up over the years are also being exposed.”
Chinese stocks closed lower with Shanghai’s benchmark composite index losing 1.39 per cent. It has plunged nearly 40 per cent since mid-June. Communist authorities are estimated to have spent more than $200 billion trying to prop up share prices.
In recent weeks they have also lowered the yuan’s value against the dollar and cut interest rates for the fifth time since November.
But Li said that policymakers would not be moved by short-term movements in the economy, while standing ready to take action as necessary.
“The Chinese economy will not head for a hard landing,” he said. “We have the capability to achieve all the major targets of economic development for this year.”
The yuan would be kept “basically stable at a reasonable and equilibrium level”, he added, saying that Beijing “will not want to see any currency wars”.
A key lesson of the global financial crisis was that “quantitative easing alone cannot address the structural hindrances to growth”,  he told the audience, calling for strengthening the “real economy”.
China’s finance ministry on Tuesday said it will adopt “stronger” fiscal policies to bolster the economy, including accelerating major construction projects.
In a sign of weakness on the consumer front, car sales in China fell 2.98 per cent in August from a year ago to 1.66 million vehicles, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said, the fifth straight month of decline.
The consumer price index (CPI) rise was higher than July’s 1.6 per cent and the strongest since last August, driven by rising pork costs.
The growth slowdown and declines in commodity prices have helped keep China’s consumer inflation in check, with some economists even voicing concerns about possible deflation.
CPI touched 0.8 per cent in January—its lowest in more than five years—but the measure has now risen for three straight months.
Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics, expected price measures to “rebound over the coming quarters”.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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