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Inflation to remain in reasonable range in 2022

By OUYANG SHIJIA | China Daily | Updated: 2022-02-28 09:32
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A customer buys fresh vegetables at a supermarket in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Feb 16. China's consumer price index may continue to rise moderately in 2022. [Photo by Su Yang/For China Daily]

China has the conditions in place and the capability to keep prices stable within a reasonable range in 2022 despite fears over global inflation, analysts and experts said.

They expect inflation in China to remain mild this year, saying softer inflation will leave the door open for more monetary easing given downward economic pressure.

Liu Zhicheng, a researcher at the market and price research institute of the Chinese Academy of Macro-economic Research, said while high global inflation is expected to persist for some time, the inflation pressure is likely to ease gradually in 2022 with the shift in monetary policy in major economies and the narrowing gap between supply and demand.

"China has an ample supply of key commodities essential for people's livelihoods such as grains, oil, meat, eggs, milk, fruits and vegetables. And it is able to ensure (the supply of) energy sources such as coal and oil," Liu said. "Looking into 2022, China has a solid foundation to keep prices stable."

China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, is expected to continue to rise moderately in 2022 and the growth of the producer price index, which gauges factory-gate prices, will gradually slow in China this year, Liu said.

While facing global inflation pressures and the impact of COVID-19, China's overall price level is within a reasonable range in 2021, with the CPI lower than the preset consumer inflation target of around 3 percent, Liu added.

The country's CPI rose more slowly than expected in 2021, up 0.9 percent year-on-year, said the National Bureau of Statistics.

"China has become a stabilizer for global prices, contributing to supply and demand balancing in the international market and stabilizing global price levels," Liu said.

Data from the NBS showed the year-on-year growth of China's PPI hit a six-month low in January and the CPI registered slower growth year-on-year as well in January.

Last month, China's PPI rose 9.1 percent from a year ago, slower than the 10.3 percent gain in December. Its CPI rose 0.9 percent year-on-year, down from 1.5 percent in the previous month, according to the NBS.

Li Quan, chief economist of LC Securities, attributed slowing consumer inflation to the decline in food prices, especially a significant decrease in pork prices.

Li, who is also a finance professor at Nankai University, said the producer price inflation slowed in January amid the global resumption of work and production.

Looking ahead, Li said overall inflation is expected to remain controllable, as the growth in prices of industrial consumer goods is slowing down and the price increase of gas and diesel has dropped month-on-month.

Zhou Maohua, an analyst at China Everbright Bank, noted the cooling factory-gate inflation is mainly affected by the slowing growth in the prices of some raw materials and the high base last year.

Zhou said while falling factory-gate price inflation will affect the profitability of industrial enterprises, it will help ease the pressure on rising costs for midstream and downstream manufacturing enterprises, enhance corporate confidence and boost overall vitality. It will help create more jobs and bolster domestic demand.

He expects producer price inflation to slow further in 2022 and consumer inflation to pick up mildly.

Considering the downward pressure and the uncertainties both at home and abroad, he said the government needs to increase support for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and further develop strategic emerging sectors to stabilize employment and domestic demand.

The annual forecasts by the Center for Forecasting Science (CEFS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences said China's economy is expected to grow by around 5.5 percent in 2022, with consumption remaining the main driving force for economic growth.

The CEFS warned that the risk of price increases beyond expectations remains, expecting the PPI and CPI to rise about 4.3 percent and around 2 percent in 2022, respectively.

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