Mainland shopper costs edge increased

China's consumer price index was 2.1 percent higher than a year earlier in January, up from the 1.8 percent gain the month before.

The index was boosted by a seasonal surge in spending over the Lunar New Year festival, with airfares, movie tickets and travel prices up 20.3 percent, 10.7 percent and 9.3 percent respectively, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Economists expect the cost of living in China will pick up over the coming months now that its zero-Covid policy has been abandoned, with inflation approaching the target of about 3 percent that the government set last year.

The country's producer price index, which measures the cost of goods at the factory gate, decreased by 0.8 percent year on year in January. That extended the 0.7 percent drop the prior month, even though manufacturing activity returned to growth in January.

"Prices of industrial products continued to fall in January, weighed down by fluctuating international crude oil prices and sliding domestic coal prices," said senior NBS statistician Dong Lijuan.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics, cited large falls in energy and chemicals prices and waning supply chain disruption as factors behind the decline. (Additional reporting by Xinhua & Reuters)

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