BEIJING — China’s factory-gate prices in October grew at the fastest pace in 25 years due to the surging coal prices. The producer-price index rose 13.5% from a year earlier in October, accelerating from September’s 10.7% increase, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. October’s result is now the highest rate of increase recorded in the data series since it began in 1996, followed by the September figure.
The reading beat the expectation of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who had expected a rise of 12.5%. On a monthly basis, PPI rose 2.5% in October from September. Coal prices drove the growth. With the supply of coal tight, prices surged in October, said Dong Lijuan, a statistician at the bureau. Prices for the coal mining and washing industry increased 103.7%, the stastistics bureau said. The country’s consumer-price index, which has softened for months, rebounded in October thanks to soaring vegetable prices caused by heavy rain and logistics deadlocks. CPI rose 1.5% from a year earlier, doubling from the 0.7% increase marked in September, the statistics bureau said. The reading was higher than the 1.4% growth economists had predicted in the WSJ poll. Food price deflation narrowed to 2.4% in October from 5.2% in September, while non-food prices increased 2.4%, the bureau said. “The price of fresh vegetables rose by 16.6%, affecting the increase of CPI by about 0.34%, and accounting for nearly 50% of the total increase,” Dong said.