China’s February Consumer Inflation Slowest in a Year amid Sluggish Demand

Chinese annual consumer inflation slowed in February, official data indicated on Thursday, as consumers remained cautious after the relaxation of strict Covid-19 pandemic curbs late last year.

The National Bureau of Statistics said that February’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.0% from the previous year, the lowest yearly increase since February 2022 and below the 2.1% increase recorded in January. This outcome was also below the median forecast of a 1.9% increase in a Reuters poll.

Seasonally adjusted CPI dropped 0.5% from the previous month, below expectations of a 0.2% increase. The monthly CPI rise in January was 0.8%.

Meanwhile, the producer deflation extended into a fifth month.

The Beijing government has projected that consumer prices will rise by roughly 3% in 2023 compared to the previous year, 2022, when they rose by only 2% compared to 2021.

The world’s second-largest economy is slowly getting back on its feet after the Covid-19 crisis, but it still has to contend with sluggish demand abroad and a decline in the home property market.

Analysts predict that despite China’s efforts to tamp down Covid-19, the country’s consumer prices will rise in the next months.