China's inflation rebounded in January as food prices soared, renewing pressure on the Central Government to control living costs as it tries to boost slowing growth amid warnings of a looming global downturn.
Consumer prices in the world’s second-largest economy rose by an unexpectedly strong 4.5 percent over a year earlier, up from December’s 4.1 percent, data showed Thursday. Food prices jumped 10.5 percent, accelerating from the previous month’s 9.1 percent rate.
The food price rise was driven by a 25 percent gain in the cost of the pork, China’s staple meat. In December, pork prices rose 21.3 percent.
The price spike could complicate the government’s efforts to revive growth that slowed to a 2 1/2-year low of 8.9 percent in the final quarter of 2011. Chinese leaders are gradually easing controls to boost growth and job creation but are moving cautiously for fear of igniting a new price spiral.
The upturn in inflation broke a months-long decline from July’s 37-month high of 6.5 percent. Analysts said food prices would face upward pressure due to the traditional Spring Festival, when Chinese families stock up for banquets, but even with that factored in, they expected inflation to fall to about 4 percent.