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Chinese inflation up, but not as much as expected

People shopping in a supermarket in Jiaozuo, Henan Province of China.
ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
People shopping in a supermarket in Jiaozuo, Henan Province of China.

China's annual consumer inflation climbed to an eight-month high of 3.2 percent in October, driven by food prices, data showed on Saturday, adding to market worries about policy tightening as the world's second-largest economy stabilizes.

Inflation, which quickened slightly from 3.1 percent in September, was lower than a median forecast of 3.3 percent in a Reuters poll and was below the official target of 3.5 percent for 2013.

``Although the CPI inflation was mainly pushed up by seasonal food demand, it may fuel market concerns that the central bank may tighten monetary conditions,'' said Li Huiyong, an economist at Shenyin & Wanguo Securities in Shanghai.

The People's Bank of China refused to inject liquidity into the money markets at regular open market operations on Thursday, triggering worries it would start a new round of tightening in the next few months, traders said.

Data on Friday showed China's exports rebounded by more than expected in October, adding to signs the economy has found its footing as Beijing prepares its reform agenda for the next decade.

But few analysts believe the central bank will rush to tighten policy amid the global uncertainties.

The PBOC has said it will maintain its prudent policy-setting with timely fine-tuning to keep the economy on an even keel while warding off inflationary risks.

The National Bureau of Statistics said food prices rose 6.5 percent in October, quickening from 6.1 percent in September.

China's producer prices fell 1.5 percent last month from a year earlier - the 20th consecutive month of decline - versus a fall of 1.3 percent in the previous month, the bureau said.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer inflation of 3.3 percent and factory-gate prices to decline 1.4 percent.

Month-on-month, consumer prices were up 0.1 percent versus a rise of 0.2 percent expected by economists. Producer prices in October were unchanged from the previous month.

- By Reuters

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