China March PPI rises to highest since 2018, CPI returns to inflation By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Worker walks past steel rolls at the Chongqing Iron and Steel plant in Changshou

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s factory gate prices rose at their fastest annual pace since July 2018 in March, official data showed on Friday, as growth in the world’s second-largest economy continued to gather momentum.

China’s producer price index (PPI) rose 4.4% in annual terms, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. This compared with a median forecast for a 3.5% rise in a Reuters poll of analysts and a 1.7% rise in February.

The inflation data is the lastest indicator to point to robust economic growth in the January-March quarter. Data last week showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories ramped up production to keep up with improving global demand.

China’s gross domestic product is widely expected to expand by more than 8% this year following 2.3% growth in 2020. That was the weakest full-year growth in over 40 years as China grappled with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing has set a relatively modest growth target of above 6% for 2021 and continues to warn of uncertainties related to the pandemic, which has now claimed more than 3 million lives worldwide.

China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.4% from a year earlier in March, the statistics bureau said in a separate statement, compared with a median forecast for a 0.3% rise in a Reuters poll and a 0.2% decline in February.

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