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Thursday, July 24, 2008

China's CPI Inflation Slows In June 2008

China's inflation rate fell to 7.1 per cent in June from 7.7 per cent in May. The rate has now been falling steadily from a 12-year high of 8.7 per cent hit in February, according to the latest data from the national statistics bureau.

This reduction comes after months of government efforts to cool inflation by paying subsidies to increase food supplies and imposing price controls on food, fuel and other basic goods, and moves at the central bank to increase the percentage of their deposits that the banks need to keep as reserves.

The government gave no June figure for food prices, but said they rose 20.4 percent in the first half over the year-earlier period. JPMorgan estimated June's food price rise at 17.5 percent, compared with 19.9 percent in May.

China's main planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, have said that inflation in housing prices, another key area of concern, slowed slightly in June but that costs in 70 major cities still were up 8.2 over June 2007.

China's producer price index (PPI), which measures factory-gate inflation, reached 8.8% year-on-year in June, the fastest rise since 1999. In May it rose by 8.2%. Since it usually takes six months for manufacturers to pass on their cost pressure to end consumers, this acceleration in the PPI seems likely to drive inflation higher again later in the year.

China's economy grew by 10.4 per cent in the first half of this year, officials also said today. China's economy grew by 10.1 percent in the three months ending June 30 over the same period last year, compared with 10.6 per cent in the first quarter of the year while for the whole of 2007 the economy grew at a rate of 11.9 per cent.

On the other hand export growth - which is the principle driver of the Chinese economy - dropped sharply in June to 18.2 percent which while still very rapid was well down from May's rise of 28 percent. The drop in the rate of increase seems to be due to slowing global demand, prompting suggestions regulators might slow the rise of China's currency, the yuan, or take other steps to help struggling exporters.

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