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 Chongqing Iron and Steel Plant in Changshou

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

China’s producer price index (PPI) rose 4.4% annually, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. That compared to a median forecast for a 3.5% increase in a Reuters poll of analysts and a 1.7% increase in February.

Inflation data is the final indicator of robust economic growth in the January-March quarter. Last week’s data showed that China’s manufacturing activity grew at the fastest pace in three months in March as factories ramped up production to keep pace with improving global demand.

China’s gross domestic product is expected to grow by more than 8% this year after growing 2.3% in 2020. This was the weakest full-year growth in over 40 years as China struggled with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beijing has set itself a relatively modest growth target of over 6% for 2021 and continues to warn of uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, which has now killed more than 3 million people worldwide.

China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.4% year over year in March, the statistics bureau said in a separate statement, compared to a median forecast of 0.3% increase in a Reuters poll and a decrease of 0. 2% in February.

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