BEIJING, June 2 (Xinhua) -- China's Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, is expected to grow faster in May, lifted by rising food prices, economists have said.
Lian Ping, chief economist of the Bank of Communications, predicted the CPI will grow 2.6 percent year on year, a six-month high.
His words were echoed by Zhu Baoliang, a researcher at the State Information Center, who forecast the inflation will rebound after moderate increase during the beginning of the year, estimating a rate of 2.4 percent. Inflation eased further in April to 1.8 percent the lowest figure in 18 months.
Both Lian and Zhu attribute the increase in CPI growth to rising food prices, which are estimated to grow 1 percent on a month to month basis in May.
Prices of pork in 22 provinces and cities tracked by the statistics authorities jumped more than 20 percent month on month in May as demand recovered after the central government started to purchase pork at the beginning of the April. Pork is the staple meat in China and has a heavy weighting in the basket of prices used to calculate inflation.
Prices of other food products including poultry, eggs and fruits were also likely to rise due to the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday at the end of May. Lian believes the food price increase is unlikely to continue as the demand for pork will start to cool in June and inflation will ease in the rest of the year. Zhu predicted the CPI will stay under 3 percent in the second half.
The Chinese government aims to control the full-year CPI growth to below 3.5 percent this year.
Video>>>Official May PMI rises to 50.8%, highest level in 2014
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