China Feb CPI up 4.9%

Updated: 2011-03-11 10:17


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China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 4.9 percent year-on-year in February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced Friday.

The increase was the same as January's.

China's January inflation figure remained stubbornly high at 4.9 percent despite a series of measures taken to curb price rises. The growth accelerated from 4.6 percent in December but was lower than the 28-month high of 5.1 percent in November.

NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun said food prices, which account for nearly a third of the basket of goods in the nation's CPI calculation, surged 11 percent year-on-year in February. Non-food prices rose 2.3 percent from a year earlier.

China has adjusted the weight of items in its CPI calculation from the start of the year -- with the food weighting pushed down 2.21 percentage points and property-related weighting up 4.22 percentage points.

Consumer prices rose 4.8 percent in urban areas and 5.5 percent in the rural region, compared with a year earlier, said Sheng.

Related readings:
China Feb CPI up 4.9% Adviser: Inflation to hit 5%
China Feb CPI up 4.9% China able to keep inflation around 4%
China Feb CPI up 4.9% Feb consumer prices set to fall: official
China Feb CPI up 4.9% Inflation putting heat on govt

The February CPI was higher than market forecasts of 4.8 percent and above the government's target of 4 percent for this year.

Sheng attributed the increase to price hikes during the Spring Festival holiday and seasonal factors.

He said the upward trend may continue as quantitative easing by some countries has resulted in higher commodity prices. Meanwhile, rising costs of domestic labor and raw materials could hardly be reversed in the short run.

But the government is confident of curbing inflation as abundant grain reserves, the oversupply of industrial products and the country's prudent monetary policy will help, he added.

The producer price index (PPI), a major measure of inflation at the wholesale level, rose 7.2 percent in February from a year earlier, the highest level since October 2008.

"Inflation pressure remains high and the sharp rise of producer prices will in turn push up consumer prices in the near future," said Li-Gang Liu, head of Greater China Economics, ANZ Banking Group.

China is facing imported inflation pressure from rises in global commodity prices, including crude oil, metallic ores, and even food, Sheng said.

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