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Thursday, May 15, 2008

China Producer Prince Index April 2008

In April, Producers’ Price Index (PPI) for manufactured goods was up by 8.1 percent from April 2007; purchasing prices for raw material, fuels and power rose by 11.8 percent.

Of the total, PPIs for mining and quarrying industry increased 27.2 percent; that for raw materials industry and machining industry correspondingly up by 10.4 and 6.0 percent; that for means of consumer goods grew 5.4 percent. Of which, price for foodstuff increased 11.9 percent; that of clothing and commodities rose 2.3 and 3.7 percent, while that for durable consumer goods dropped 0.5 percent.

In terms of different categories:

PPI for crude oil increased 37.9 percent, year-on-year. The prices for oil products, such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene increased 10.8, 10.2 and 11.7 percent respectively.

PPI for polystyrene decreased 0.1 percent compared with the same month a year ago; that of latex up by 21.5 percent; and that of terylene rose by 1.2 percent, year on year.

PPI for mining and washing of coal industry was up by 26.0 percent from last March. Of which, PPI for crude coal increased 27.4 percent.

PPI for smelting and pressing of ferrous metals grew 24.8 percent from the same month last year. Of which, PPIs for ordinary large rolled-steels, medium rolled-steels, small rolled-steels, wire rod and heavy steel plate correspondingly increased 29.3, 41.1, 34.6, 37.0, and 24.9 percent, year on year.

PPI for smelting and pressing of nonferrous metals gained a year-on-year rise of 4.7 percent. Of the total, the increase of copper and lead surged 0.6 and 20.9 percent, while that aluminum and zinc dropped 0.1 and 24.2 percent respectively.

In addition, wherein the purchasing price for raw materials, fuel and power, nonferrous metal materials, ferrous metals, and chemical materials increased21.2, 20.8, 6.1, and 4.2 percent respectively, year-on-year.

From January to April, PPI grew 7.2 percent, year-on-year; the purchasing price for raw materials, fuels and power products increased 10.3 percent.

China Fixed Asset Investment April 2008

China's factory and property spending climbed 25.7 percent in the four months up to April. Fixed-asset investment in urban areas rose to 2.8 trillion yuan ($400 billion), the statistics bureau said today.

China ordered banks this week to set aside a record proportion of their reserves to cool the world's fourth-biggest economy after inflation surged last month to almost a 12-year high. Spending by newly appointed local government officials and reconstruction work after the 7.9-magnitude quake may boost investment growth this year.

Property investment rose 32 percent, accounting for a quarter of total spending, and investment in coal mining surged 47 percent.

What is now the world's fourth-largest economy grew 10.6 percent in the first quarter, a slower pace than the 11.2 percent growth in the previous three months, after exports cooled.

Inflation, on the other hand was up at 8.5 percent in April.

Producer prices rose 8.1 percent last month from a year earlier, the fastest pace in more than three years.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

China Industrial Output April 2008

China's industrial production growth slowed slightly in April. Output was up 15.7 percent in April from April 2007, the statistics bureau said today. This follows a 17.8 percent increase in March.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

China Retail Sales April 2008

China's retail sales climbed (in money terms)at the fastest pace since at least 1999 in April, but since inflation was also up near a decade high the actually - inflation adjusted - rate of increase was of course much less. Sales rose 22 percent to a record 814.2 billion yuan ($116 billion) in April after gaining 21.5 percent in March, the statistics bureau said today. If we look at the comparison on the chart below, what we can really say is that there is no sign, at this point, of any economic slowdown, at least as far as retail sales go.

Rising incomes will help to counter the effects of surging prices, stock market declines, and the scrapping of a seven-day May holiday, State Information Center economists led by Fan Jianping said in a report published this month. Real urban disposable incomes climbed 11.5 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 4,386 yuan ($627). Rural earnings rose 18.5 percent to 1,494 yuan.

Meantime China's money-supply expansion unexpectedly acceleratedin April, adding pressure on the central bank to prevent cash from further fueling inflation which is already close to the fastest pace since 1996.

M2, the broadest measure, rose 16.9 percent at the end of April from a year earlier to 42.9 trillion yuan ($6.1 trillion), the People's Bank of China said today, after gaining 16.3 percent in March.

Outstanding local-currency loans rose 14.7 percent at the end of April from a year earlier, the central bank said. Lenders extended 463.9 billion yuan of new loans last month, bringing the total to 1.8 trillion yuan for the first four months. Outstanding local-currency deposits rose 17.7 percent at the end of April from a year earlier, the central bank said. Household savings rose 99.2 billion yuan from the previous month.

Monday, May 12, 2008

China Inflation April 2008

China’s consumer price inflation clung near a 12-year high in April, maintaining pressure on the government to stick to its tight policy stance in spite of softening global growth. As a result China has today once more instructed banks to set aside more deposits as reserves, this is now the fourth time so far this year such action has been taken. Banks must place a record 16.5 percent of deposits with the central bank, up from the previous 16 percent, the People's Bank of China said today on its Web site.

Apart from February’s reading of 8.7 per cent, inflation was last higher in May 1996, when the rate was 8.9 per cent. Food prices, which make up a third of the consumer basket, have been the overwhelming driver of inflation. They rose 22.1 per cent in April from a year earlier, though weekly government reports on fresh food prices have showed a slight dip in May. Non-food prices rose 1.8 per cent in April from a year earlier, the same as in March.

Zhou Xiaochuan, China’s central bank governor, said on Saturday that the country would give precedence to tackling inflation over targeting growth or employment. Today's increase in reserve deposits will freeze about 208 billion yuan ($30 billion) in the banking system, in an attempt to cool the world's fastest-growing major economy by restraining lending. However 7.5 percentage points of increase in the requirement since the start of last year has so far failed to stop the lending growth that is fuelling both the expansion and all this inflation, so it is extremely unlikely that an additional o.5 percentage point raise at this juncture will do the trick.

And even as easing food prices give some grounds for thinking that the worst on this front may be over, pipeline pressures have now been steadily builting up at the producer price level, and the producer price index, or best available measure of factory-gate inflation, hit a three-and-a-half year high of 8.1 per cent in April. This followed an 8 percent gain in March and was the quickest pace since November 2004. Thus there may be a whole stream of "second round" effects still to come.

Producer prices of ferrous metals jumped 24.8 percent in April from a year earlier, after rising 21.2 percent in March, the statistics bureau said. Gasoline prices climbed 10.8 percent after gaining 9.9 percent and clothing costs increased 2.3 percent after climbing 2 percent.

Higher wages and energy and commodity costs led a third of manufacturers to raise prices in April, according to a survey by CLSA of more than 400 purchasing managers. The Labor Contract Law, imposed on Jan. 1, mandates minimum wages and limits overtime work. The average wage in Chinese urban areas climbed 18 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier to 6,524 yuan ($932).

The government declared it would tighten monetary policy this year to fight inflation, but it has yet to raise interest rates after six increases in 2007.

Instead, it has drawn on an array of tools, from bank lending curbs to faster yuan appreciation – the central bank last Monday set the highest daily reference rate for the yuan, 6.8920 per dollar, since it ended a fixed peg to the US currency in July 2005.

Friday, May 09, 2008

China Exports April 2008

China's export growth slowed in April and the trade surplus was little changed as economies around the world weakened. Exports rose about 21.8 percent from April 2007, following a 30.6 percent gain in March, according to figures derived from Ministry of Commerce data. The trade surplus was about $16.8 billion compared with $16.7 billion a year earlier.

Central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said on May 4 that weaker export growth has been a factor in the yuan's failure to appreciate versus the dollar after a 4.2 percent jump in the first quarter. Smaller gains in shipments reduce the risk that inflows of cash from overseas sales will fuel 11-year high inflation and overheat the world's fastest-growing major economy.

The gain in overseas shipments compares with the 21.4 percent pace in the first quarter and the 26 percent increase for all of last year. Imports grew about 26.1 percent in April from a year earlier after gaining 24.6 in March. The increase partly reflects rising commodity prices.

The world's fourth-biggest economy expanded 10.6 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier and inflation accelerated to 8 percent, the fastest pace since 1996. The yuan had its biggest gain since a fixed-exchange rate ended in 2005.

China's currency has climbed 18 percent versus the dollar since the peg to the U.S. currency was scrapped, making the nation's products more expensive in overseas markets and cutting import costs. Since April, it has gained only 0.3 percent.

Inflation, driven by food and wage costs, climbed to an 11-year high of 8.7 percent in February, more than the central bank's target for the year of 4.8 percent. Producer prices rose 8.1 percent in April, the fastest pace in more than three years, the statistics bureau said today.

The Ministry of Commerce released data for shipments of mechanical and electrical products for the first four months on a ministry Web site today. It gave the value of exports of those products, $251.3 billion, and said they represented 59.2 percent of total exports. It also gave the value for imports, $173.3 billion, said they were 47.3 percent of total imports.