China Inflation and GDP Growth

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HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — China data will take center stage in Asia during the week ahead, as investors look to inflation and economic growth figures for clues to the underlying direction of the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The spotlight will also be shared by Anglo-Australian mining giants Rio Tinto ( 68.50+0.25+0.37%), ( 84.53-1.04-1.22%)  and BHP Billiton( 87.90-0.18-0.20%)  ( 44.62-0.57-1.26%) , which are due to release quarterly production reports.

Thursday will be key for China watchers, with figures for consumer and wholesale inflation for December set to round out the inflation picture for the full year.

Consumer prices in November rose 5.1% from a year earlier, the fastest pace of gains in more than two years, fueling worries that prices could be edging beyond levels the government deems acceptable. In the January-through-November period, the consumer price index rose 3.2% from a year earlier, exceeding the government’s full-year target of 3%.

The CPI likely rose by 3.5% or less for the year, according to Yao Jingyuan, chief economist for the China’s National Bureau of Statistics, cited in a report by the state-run People’s Daily on Thursday.

Asia's Week Ahead: China inflation

This week in Asia, China announces inflation and economic growth figures, and Australian mining giants release quarterly reports. MarketWatch's Chris Oliver reports.

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Such an inflation rate, Yao said, would be below the average annual CPI gain of 5.6% during the last 30 years. He added that inflation of 3% to 5% was normal for China, and largely insignificant so long as the overall economy continued to expand by around 10% a year.

Still, Yao’s comments seemed to indicate China’s outlook was similar to those of other BRIC economies — which include Brazil, Russia and India — as they too face headwinds from higher inflation and easing growth rates in the years ahead.

Meanwhile, the World Bank said China’s worsening inflation problem was ...

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