BEIJING Ė Chinaís producer-price inflation decelerated sharply in December, underscoring softening demand amid slower economic growth, official data showed on Thursday.
The producer-price index rose 0.9% in December, compared with a 2.7% on-year increase in November, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
Decemberís reading for factory-gate prices is the slowest since September 2016, when it inched up 0.1% from a year earlier. Inflation for producers was also lower than the median forecast for a 1.5% increase by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Oil and natural gas prices rose 4.5% last month, down from a 24.4% gain in November, the bureau said.
The PPI dropped 1.0% in December from a month earlier. In November, it edged down 0.2% from the month before.
For all of 2018, the PPI climbed 3.5%, following a rise of 6.3% in 2017.
Chinaís consumer-price index rose 1.9% in December from a year earlier, compared with a 2.2% gain in November, the bureau said. Decemberís increase was the slowest in six months.
Nonfood prices rose 1.7% from a year earlier, compared with a 2.1% increase in November. Weighing on nonfood price gains were gasoline and diesel prices, which dropped 0.5% and 0.3%, respectively, reversing Novemberís increases of 12.8% and 14.2%, the bureau said. Food prices rose 2.5% from a year earlier, holding steady from November.
The key inflation reading was lower than the median 2.1% gain forecast from economists polled in the survey.
For all of 2018, CPI rose 2.1% after rising 1.6% in 2017. The government aimed to keep consumer inflation under about 3% for 2018.
On a month-over-month basis, the CPI edged up 0.3% in December. In November, the index edged down 0.3% from the previous month.