Farmers check on their pigs at a farm on the outskirts of Beijing. Photo: AFP/Nicolas Asfouri
Farmers check on their pigs at a farm on the outskirts of Beijing. Photo: AFP/Nicolas Asfouri

China’s consumer inflation eased in June on the back of falling pork prices, official data showed Friday, although factory gate costs remained elevated after a recent surge in commodity prices.

The world’s second-largest economy has largely bounced back from the coronavirus hit and factory gate inflation began to ease last month after surging at the highest rate in more than a decade earlier in the year as commodity prices spiked.

Factories so far appear to be absorbing the costs rather than passing them on to consumers, and analysts expect Beijing to protect shoppers from rising costs.

China’s consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of retail inflation, rose 1.1% on-year in June – lower than analysts expected and down from the month before.

The low CPI inflation was “to a large extent driven by slumping pork prices,” Nomura chief China economist Lu Ting noted.

China’s CPI has been driven up in recent years by pork prices after an African swine fever outbreak ravaged stocks.

Pork prices have now dropped 36.5% from last year’s spike, according to the National Bureau of Statistics, helped by a recovery in live pig production and seasonally weak consumer demand.

The government has a target to keep consumer inflation below 3% this year.

The producer price index (PPI), which measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, rose 8.8% on-year – edging down from the 9.0% surge in May.

“In June, preliminary effects of policies to stabilize the supply and cost of commodities can be seen … and the rise in prices of industrial products has slowed,” said Dong Lijuan, senior statistician at the NBS.

Lu of Nomura said he expected Beijing to ease some of its carbon emission and production safety rules to boost the production of some raw materials and remain “strategically focused on boosting the manufacturing sector.”