© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A worker wearing a face mask works on a production line that makes steel bicycle tires at a factory in Hangzhou, Zhejiang
BEIJING (Reuters) – Prices at China’s factories rose in annual terms in January for the first time in 12 months and at the fastest pace since May 2019, official data showed on Wednesday, suggesting a growth momentum for the second largest economy in the world. The producer price index (PPI) rose 0.3% from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement, but lagged slightly behind with a 0.4% gain according to a Reuters analyst survey. The PPI decreased 0.4% in December. The Chinese economy is expected to grow 8.4% this year, following a 2.3% increase in 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the country to shut down for much of the March quarter of the year. past. But a resurgence of the disease last month, although mostly isolated in Hebei province surrounding Beijing and the northeastern provinces, raised concerns about temporary production interruptions. Some regional authorities implemented strict measures including home quarantines and travel restrictions to contain what was the country’s worst outbreak since March 2020. China’s manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, official data showed. reflecting the impact of the outbreak on production as well as services including logistics and transportation, as the country sought to contain COVID-19 ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays. China does not release several key data sets such as trade, industrial production, and retail sales for January and instead reports the combined figures for January through February in March, leaving markets with fewer data points to assess. the health of the economy. The consumer price index (CPI) unexpectedly fell 0.3% in January from a year earlier, the statistics office said in a separate statement, compared with the absence of changes pointed out by the Reuters poll and an increase. 0.2% in December.