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Steve Chiotakis: There are signs of weakness today in the world’s third-largest economy. Consumer prices in China fell last month for the first time in more than six years. From Shanghai, Marketplace’s Scott Tong has more.
Scott Tong: Chinese consumer prices in February fell 1.6 percent compared to last year. This hasn’t happened since 2002.
Economists see a couple things happening: Global raw material prices are down, which lowers costs for producers. And there’s not much demand for Chinese exports right now. That leaves manufacturers with excess inventories. That pushes prices down even more.
Chinese officials today described the situation as “grim.” But they were also quick to say they don’t anticipate prolonged deflation. The government says its $585 billion stimulus package will perk up spending and consumer prices.
China isn’t the only place battling deflation. Ireland, Taiwan and Thailand are trying to fend it off, too.
In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.