China's Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, is expected to grow faster in January due to rising food prices before the Spring Festival, an economist said.
Lian Ping, chief economist of the Bank of Communications, predicted the CPI will grow 2 percent year on year, up from December's 1.6 percent and November's 1.5 percent.
Food prices, accounting for one-third of the CPI calculation, will be a major driver as surging demand ahead of the holiday boosted consumption, Lian said and estimated an increase ranging between 3.4 percent and 4 percent.
Non-food prices, however, will only edge up by 1 percent to 1.2 percent, Lian said.
China saw mild growth in consumer inflation in 2015 with the full-year CPI up 1.4 from a year ago.
Lian expects China will continue to see low inflation in the first half of the year given stable prices and mildly eased liquidity condition.
The National Bureau of Statistics is scheduled to release the official January CPI data on February 18.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2016)