China Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose at their highest rate in more than eight years, official data showed Monday, with inflation more than expected on the back of lunar New Year demand and a deadly virus outbreak.
Beijing had already been battling a slowing domestic economy before the new coronavirus emerged, disrupting businesses, and travel and supply chains.
China’s CPI, a key gauge of retail inflation, came in at 5.4 percent last month on-year, up from 4.5 percent in December with prices of pork and fresh vegetables pushing up costs.
The rise in January was the highest since October 2011 when CPI inflation was 5.5 percent. The overall monthly figure exceeded the 4.9 percent forecast by analysts in a Bloomberg survey and is the highest since October 2011.
Food prices spiked 20.6 percent.
Over the past year, a spike in pork prices due to African swine fever, which ravaged pig herds across the country, had also driven up CPI.
Many office places in China are expected to remain closed with many working from home, as they are unable to make it to work due to city movement restrictions to counter the further spread of the deadly coronavirus.
Since the outbreak in December last year, the virus has claimed 900 lives more than the SARS global epidemic virus which broke out in 2003/03
Across mainland china, there were 3,062 new confirmed infections on Sunday, bringing the total number of affected to 40,171.
Deaths outside China have been confirm with an American citizen succumbing to the virus in a hospital in Wuhan followed by a Japanese.
Additional report by AFP