Stat Wrap: Trade, Inflation & FDI

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While all eyes are rightly on the situation in Sichuan, long-term worries about the economy – especially inflation – continue to rumble in the background, and the impact on agriculture in Sichuan could put more pressure on food prices. AP reports:

    “China’s inflation rebounded in April to near decade-high levels…Consumer prices in April were up 8.5 percent compared with the same month last year, the National Statistics Bureau reported. That was up from March’s 8.3 percent rate and just short of February’s 8.7 percent, the highest inflation rate in nearly 12 years.
    Prices have jumped since mid-2007, driven by rises in food costs that hit 22.1 percent in April. The government has been trying to cool price rises for pork, grain and other items by increasing supplies and has imposed price controls on basic goods.

    …A senior economic official, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, said Friday that Beijing will stick to tight monetary policies to prevent inflation from escalating. But he announced no new initiatives.

    …The sharpest inflation has been limited to food but the costs of raw materials and energy are edging up, raising pressure for producers to pass on rising prices to consumers.

    Producer prices rose 8.1 percent in April, driven by rising energy costs, according to the government.”

On the trade side, the (politically) all-important trade surplus has been slowing, while FDI has seen a dramatic increase, according to Xinhua:

    “China’s trade surplus decreased slightly last month from a year ago amid declines in international trade growth triggered by the global economic slowdown.

    Monthly surplus reached 16.68 billion last month, down 1.14 percent year-on-year but up 24.5 percent from 13.4 billion U.S. dollars in March, the General Administration of Customs said yesterday.

    Exports in April rose 21.8 percent year-on-year to 118.71 billion U.S. dollars, while imports rose 26.3 percent to 102.03 billion U.S. dollars.

    …China’s trade surplus has been narrowing since the government took measures to curb exports of resource-intensive and heavily polluting products and started to encourage imports from last year.

    …The country’s trade surplus in the first four months narrowed to 57.99 billion U.S. dollars, 5.31 billion U.S. dollars lower than a year ago.

    Exports in these four months amounted to 424.6 billion U.S. dollars, up 21.5 percent, or 6 percentage points less than a year earlier. Imports were 366.6 billion U.S. dollars, up 27.9 percent, or 8.8 percentage points more than a year earlier.

    Realized foreign investment reached 35.02 billion U.S. dollars during the four months, up 59.32 percent year-on-year, the Ministry of Commerce said.

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