China's consumer inflation remained steady in December 2019, against expectations of a rise, amid easing pork price growth, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
Annual consumer inflation in China came in at 4.5% in December 2019, in line with the previous month's reading, which 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 the inflation rate to accelerate to 4.7% in December 2019.
The annual growth in pork prices slowed to 97.0% from 110.0% in the previous month. Food prices climbed 17.4%, while nonfood prices grew 1.3%.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices stalled in December 2019. The Econoday consensus estimate was for monthly inflation to come in at 0.3%.
Food prices declined 0.4% month over month, while nonfood prices climbed 0.1%. Prices of consumer goods and services were unchanged.
Monthly core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, remained unchanged.
For full year 2019, consumer prices rose 2.9% from the previous year, government data showed.
Separately, the producer price index fell 0.5% year over year in December 2019, following a 1.4% decline in November. The consensus estimate of economists polled by Econoday was for the index to decline by 0.4%.
Producer prices stalled on a monthly basis.
"Moderating food price inflation took the pressure off consumer price inflation while producer price deflation eased thanks to base effects and an increase in energy prices," said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, in a note.
He added that demand-side pressures remain subdued, leaving "ample" scope for monetary policy easing by the People's Bank of China.