Inflation slows again; prices 5.04% higher

Bloomberg’s Tom Mackenzie reports on the performance of the Chinese economy

CPI slipped 0.1% versus a month ago.

Consumer prices rose 2.0% year on year in March, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reported on Tuesday.

March data for China's price rises were released this morning and came in below February's and below forecasts.

Food prices at the wholesale level surged 2.2 percent, the biggest increase since April 2014, with many categories showing gains. Annual inflation is rising as the big price declines from past year drop from the calculation.

USA wholesale prices increased 0.3 percent in March, driven higher by the largest increase in food costs in almost four years.

The consumer price index (CPI) rose 2.1 per cent from a year earlier, well below expectations of 2.6 per cent and slowing from February's gain of 2.9 per cent, due to seasonal declines in food, transport and tourism prices.

The CPI drop surprised analysts who had predicted a 0.1 per cent increase.

Worldwide financial and research organizations predicted that the inflation will continue its downtrend till the end of this fiscal year; Fitch Rating expected that inflation in Egypt will fall further this year but will remain in double digits, averaging around 13 percent.

If inflation climbs any faster, the central bank is likely to raise USA interest rates more aggressively. As such, many economists believe the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates three more times this year.

The Fed has already raised rates once in 2018 and has indicated two more hikes are on the way this year. Energy costs, however, fell 2.1 percent as gasoline prices dropped 3.7 percent, the largest monthly decline since last May. Food prices edged up 0.1 percent after being unchanged in February.

The cost of other major household expenses such as rent and medical care rose more sharply, however, as did prices for plane flights and auto insurance.

Economists were looking for an annual increase of 3.2%, down from 3.7% in February.

Healthcare costs increased 0.4 per cent, with prices for hospital care shooting up 0.6 per cent and the cost of doctor visits rising 0.2 per cent. Apparel prices fell 0.6 per cent after two straight months of robust increases. Meanwhile, prices for buckwheat, eggs, sugar, milk and lard fell by 3.6%-0.2%.

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