China’s September producer prices rise at fastest pace in more than 20 years

BEIJING — China’s factory-gate prices in September rose at their fastest pace in more than two decades.

The producer-price index rose 10.7% from a year earlier in September, accelerating from the 9.5% increase in August, boosted by soaring prices of raw materials, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. The reading beat the expectation of economists polled by The Wall Street Journal, who had forecast PPI to rise 10.4%.

The September rise in PPI was also the highest rate of increase in the statistics bureau’s historical data going back to 1996.

On a monthly basis, China’s PPI rose 1.2% in September from August.

The statistics bureau said the increase in producer prices was mainly driven by soaring coal prices and products in high-energy-consuming industries.

So far, surging producer prices have has yet to feed through to consumer inflation. China’s consumer-price index softened last month thanks to a contraction in food prices.

CPI rose 0.7% from a year earlier, down from the 0.8% increase in August, the statistics bureau said. The reading was in line with economists’ expectations in a WSJ poll.

Food prices slid 5.2% in September from a year earlier, while nonfood prices increased 2.0%, the bureau said.