December CPI likely to slow down

Updated: 2008-01-07 23:19

BEIJING -- Chinese analysts have brushed aside the possibility of an immediate interest rate hike, predicting a slowdown in inflation for the month of December, a figure which is yet to be released by the statistics authorities.

In its latest report, Shenyin Wanguo Securities projected a rise of 6.1 percent for the consumer price index (CPI) in December, a key gauge for inflation, compared with an 11-year peak of 6.9 percent in November.

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The Shanghai-based Guotai Jun'an, however, has set its estimate at 6.3 percent. Both firms attributed the slowdown to the relevant high base in December 2006 which jumped from 1.9 percent the previous month to 2.8 percent as a result of food price hikes.

Lu Zhengwei, macro-economy analyst with the Fuzhou-based Industrial Bank, anticipated a growth ranging from 6.2 percent to seven percent, with the median standing at 6.6 or 6.7 percent, still a slight decline from the November peak.

Analyst Li Huiyong with Shenyin Wanguo said that last year's tightening measures, highlighted by six interest rate hikes and 10 reserve requirement ratio increases, have started to exert an impact. "Chances of another immediate interest rate rise are slim, " he said.

Researcher Lin Zhaohui with Guotai Jun'an said that the People's Bank of China would spend a couple of months weighing up the new statistics, predicting the next sensitive window for further tightening moves would probably be March.

As the Spring Festival, which falls on February 7 this year, often skews economic statistics for the first two months of the year, combined with uncertainty that has risen from the delay in releasing the figures, Lin said decision-makers would remain cautious during this period.

"In other words, there will be no sign of any disturbance until March,"he said.

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