China's consumer prices rose faster than expected in November with annual headline inflation reaching its highest level since early 2012 amid a continued rise in pork prices, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Annual inflation accelerated to 4.5% in November from 3.8% in October. This was the highest level since January 2012, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data.
The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for an annual print of 4.3%.
The increase was driven by food prices, which rose 19.1% year over year on the back of a 110.2% surge in pork as the country continues to grapple with the African swine fever that has killed millions of pigs. Non-food prices rose 1.0%.
Core inflation, which excludes energy and food prices, decelerated to 1.4% from 1.5% a month ago.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices were up 0.4% in November, following a 0.9% increase in the prior month. Food inflation rose to 1.8% amid a tight pig supply, though the pace of increase in pork prices eased to 3.8% from 20.1%.
This moderation could be a sign that pork price inflation may be close to a peak, wrote Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, noting that China's pig herd expanded for the first time in a year last month.
Meanwhile, China's producer price index fell 1.4% year over year in November, following a 1.6% contraction in the prior month. The Econoday consensus was for a 1.7% annual decline.
On a monthly basis, producer prices dipped 0.1%, reversing a 0.1% uptick in October.
"Easing food inflation and muted demand-side price pressures should strengthen the case for further monetary easing," Evans-Pritchard added.