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China’s economy falls into deflation as consumer prices fall

TL;DR

  • China’s economy is facing deflation, evidenced by the contraction of consumer prices for the first time in over two years.
  • The government has established an inflation target of approximately 3% for the year, which has proven challenging.

China’s economy is facing deflation, evidenced by the contraction of consumer prices for the first time in over two years. This development is a prominent illustration of policymakers’ difficulties in stimulating consumer spending. 

In July, the consumer price index experienced a 0.3 percent year-on-year decrease, contrasting with the previous month’s status quo. Simultaneously, the producer price index, which measures the prices of goods at the factory level, saw a significant decline of 4.4 percent in July.

China’s inflation trajectory fell in July

China’s inflation trajectory took a downward turn in July, marking the first instance of negative inflation since early 2021. During that earlier period, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic dampened demand, leading to weaker prices, particularly in the pork market.

These figures emerged shortly after the data release revealing a more substantial than anticipated decline in imports and exports in July. The diminishing global appetite for Chinese goods played a role in this trend. Retailers in China have also experienced a slump in sales, forcing those who previously stocked up on inventory, expecting a surge in post-pandemic demand, to grapple with the need to lower prices.

The automotive sector has also been affected, with the price war instigated by Tesla’s price reductions prompting other brands to follow suit and reduce their prices. China’s factories have been adjusting their pricing strategies to waning demand due to falling commodity prices. The year-on-year producer price inflation for June stood at -5.4%.

Despite concerns about deflation, authorities have downplayed the risks. Liu Guoqiang, deputy central bank governor, expressed confidence that deflationary dangers would not threaten China in the latter half of the year. He did acknowledge, however, that the economy requires time to normalize following the pandemic.

The government has established an inflation target of approximately 3% for the year, which has proven challenging despite recent policy interventions. Lingering caution among consumers and manufacturers, attributed to a weak housing market, elevated youth unemployment, and reduced foreign investment enthusiasm in China, has contributed to this difficulty.

China’s situation is more complex than other economies

While falling prices might seem advantageous to Western consumers, who experienced notably high inflation rates in the past year, the situation in China reflects a more complex set of economic circumstances. In the UK, consumer prices had surged by 7.9% compared to the previous year’s June figures, resulting in a prolonged period of declining real incomes for households.

Deflation, on the other hand, can harm economic expansion, prompting consumers to postpone purchases in anticipation of lower prices. Consequently, businesses curtail their investments due to reduced profitability, potentially leading to hiring freezes or even layoffs.Hence, reports indicate that Chinese authorities have pressured prominent local economists to refrain from discussing adverse economic trends, including deflation.

Jim Reid, a strategist at Deutsche Bank, pointed out that the trade data underscores the reality that both declining global demand and an internal deceleration negatively impact the Chinese economy.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has unveiled intentions to impose fresh limitations on American investments within specific advanced industries in China, as reported by individuals familiar with the discussions. Advocates of this move assert its necessity to safeguard national security, although it is expected to provoke dissatisfaction from Beijing.

The move, if implemented, would mark one of the initial consequential steps the United States took in its economic confrontation with China, aimed at curbing financial flows. Such a measure could establish a precedent for more extensive investment restrictions between the two nations.

The proposed restrictions prevent private equity and venture capital firms from directing investments into certain cutting-edge sectors, including quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and advanced semiconductors. This measure impedes the outflow of American funds and expertise to China.

Additionally, the regulations would mandate that companies engaging in investments across various Chinese industries disclose their activities. This provision seeks to enhance the government’s oversight of financial transactions between the United States and China.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

 

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Yvonne Kiambi

Yvonne is a blockchain and crypto enthusiast. She is passionate about writing and looks to effortlessly guide readers through the exciting world of crypto. You'll find her immersed in a good book when she's not writing.

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