New economic data out of China underlines the fact that the Chinese economy is cooling down.
The inflation rate rose 2.7% in June year-over-year, up from a 2.1% gain in May, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Much of this was attributed to rising food prices, specifically growing pork prices. Food prices were up 4.9% in June from a year ago, compared with 3.2% in the previous month.
This has investors looking squarely at China’s second-quarter gross domestic product, which will be released early next week. Consensus expectation is for 7.5% growth year-over-year. If it meets expectations, it would be the second consecutive quarter of slowing growth rates and the slowest growth rate in 23 years for China.
Asian markets still closed higher despite the bad news. After a sell-off on Monday over concerns ahead of the data release, the Nikkei surged Tuesday by 2.6%. The South Korean Kospi closed 0.7% higher and the Hang Seng concluded Monday up half a percent.
Looking ahead to 2014, economists have begun to lower their expectations for next year. Several typically bullish experts project China’s annual GDP growth could sink as low as 6%, with much weighing on how the Chinese government handles its recent credit crisis.