China’s consumer inflation rose to its highest level in more than eight years in January as hundreds of millions of Chinese struggled to cope with a deadly coronavirus outbreak that has raised anxiety levels and pushed up the prices of many household goods, reported the Wall Street Journal.
China’s consumer-price index climbed 5.4% in January from a year earlier, the highest reading since October 2011, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday. The key inflation reading was higher than December’s 4.5% rise and topped economists’ expectations.
January’s pickup in inflation was driven by the Lunar New Year, which normally boosts demand for consumer goods, and by the coronavirus outbreak, said Dong Lijuan, an analyst with the statistics bureau, in a statement.
In Hubei province, which has been hit hardest by the outbreak, consumer inflation slightly outpaced the national average at 5.5% in January—a number that points to relatively steady price levels, Dong said.