Money & Company

Tracking the market and economic trends
that shape your finances.

« Previous Post | Money & Company Home | Next Post »

Chinese inflation remains high amid signs of economic slowdown

October 13, 2011 |  8:52 pm

Inflation in China moderated in September for the second consecutive month, but still remained stubbornly high amid growing signs of a global slowdown.

China’s consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, grew 6.1% from a year earlier, down slightly from a 6.2% rise in August.

The index remains far above the 4% annual target set by the central government, making it difficult to loosen monetary policy if China’s economy is pulled into a global decline.

There’s evidence that the world’s second-largest economy may be slowing down.

Trade data released Thursday showed Chinese exports decreased in September over slackening European demand and a strengthening yuan, the country’s currency.

Prices for crude oil and copper fell on news of the data, reflecting jitteriness in China’s ability to import commodities as voraciously as it has in the past.

Meanwhile, thousands of small businesses in China’s coastal provinces are reportedly being squeezed by the country’s credit crunch. China’s State Council said it would support the small firms by increasing loans and offering tax breaks.

But central leaders say reining in inflation remains an overall priority –- dulling expectations that policymakers will loosen credit, drop interest rates or lift buying restrictions in China’s stagnant residential property market.

“For the moment, we remain in policy stasis -– no more tightening, but no real loosening -– while Chinese authorities nervously eye developments in the Eurozone,” said Alistair Thornton, an analyst for IHS Global Insight in Beijing. “It is the Eurozone and U.S. that form the greatest downside risk for China’s outlook.”


China’s trade surplus narrows in September

China calls on U.S. to oppose currency legislation

Senate OKs sanctions for nations holding down currency values

-- David Pierson

Photo: Customers look at prices for vegetables at a supermarket in Hefei, China. Credit: Reuters