Employees work on the production line of a television factory under Zhaochi Group in Shenzhen, China August 8, 2019.
Jason Lee | Reuters
China’s factory deflation eased in July, driven by a rise in global oil prices and as industrial activity climbed back towards pre-coronavirus levels, adding to signs of recovery in the world’s second-largest economy.
The producer price index fell 2.4% from a year earlier in July, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement, compared with a 2.5% decline tipped in a Reuters poll of analysts and a 3.0% drop in June.
Analysts say China’s industrial output is steadily returning to levels seen before the pandemic paralyzed huge swathes of the economy, as pent-up demand, government stimulus and surprisingly resilient exports propel a recovery.
Iron ore futures prices in Dalian have rallied over 50% so far this year while prices of steel bars used in construction have jumped 12%.
But some economists warn the recovery could stall amid cautious consumer spending and a resurgence in global infections. Floods due to heavy rainfall have also disrupted production in some parts of the country in recent months.
Consumer inflation edged up in July as the bad weather pushed food prices higher.
The consumer price index rose 2.7% from a year earlier, compared with an expected 2.6% increase and a 2.5% rise in June. Pork prices rose 85.7% on a yearly basis.
However, core inflation, which excludes food and energy costs, rose a mere 0.5% in July from a year earlier.