China's consumer inflation is likely to pick up in January because of higher food prices driven by strong demand before the Lunar New Year holiday, UBS analyst Wang Tao forecast.
Wang expected the country's consumer price index, the main gauge of inflation, to rise 4.9 percent year on year in January, compared with an increase of 4.5 percent registered in December.
The average prices of fruit, vegetables and meat rose 4 percent, 6 percent and 4 percent respectively from December due to seasonally stronger demand ahead of the holiday, according to Wang.
Price of pork, the country's staple meat, climbed 6 percent month-on-month in January, Wang said, adding that non-food prices also rebounded slightly.
Wang said the country's producer price index (PPI), which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, is likely to dip 0.1 percent from one year earlier last month. PPI edged down 0.5 percent year on year in December.
She said the January data will be distorted by the holiday effect and the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and expects the government to ease policies to support economic growth and affected businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.