China manufacturing sector posts recovery

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    BEIJING- China’s factory gate prices fell last month at their slowest pace since February, official data showed on Monday, suggesting China’s manufacturing sector continues to see a steady recovery from the COVID-19 shock.

    The producer price index (PPI) fell 0.4 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. The index was expected to fall 0.8 percent, according to a median forecast in a Reuters poll, after a 1.5 percent drop in November.

    The data comes as manufacturing activity in the world’s secondlargest economy expanded in December but at a slightly slower pace amid higher raw material costs.

    On a monthly basis, PPI rose 1.1 percent in December after increasing 0.5 percent in November, pointing to improving corporate profitability.

    Prices for raw materials fell 1.6 percent from a year ago, compared with a decline of 4.2 percent in the previous month.

    China’s industrial sector has staged an impressive rebound from the coronavirus shock thanks to surprisingly strong exports, helping to fuel a robust economic recovery.

    But rising global infections – and fresh coronavirus curbs in many countries – may cloud the outlook for Chinese manufacturers.

    The consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.2 percent from a year earlier in December, after easing 0.5 percent in November, the first fall since October 2009. Analysts in the Reuters poll had forecast a 0.1 percent rise.

    Food prices rose 1.2 percent from a year ago, compared with a decline of 2.0 percent in the previous month.