TAKING TO THE AIR: The Hong Kong-headquartered Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. resumes construction on a new cargo terminal after two years of suspension due to the financial crisis. The terminal, with a total investment of HK$5.5 billion, is scheduled to come into use in 2013 (HUANG BENQIANG)
Numbers of the Week
The business-to-business Internet company Alibaba said its net profit in the first half of 2010 was 693 million yuan ($102 million), representing a growth of 39.8 percent year on year.
China's imports of iron ores in July rose 8.5 percent from June to 51.2 million tons, after three consecutive months of decline, said the General Administration of Customs.
TO THE POINT: Economic data for July indicated that pillar forces of the economy remained strong in July. Fixed-asset investment and retail sales are still soaring. Exports are also recouping some strength, growing over 38 percent in July. The CPI went up by 3.3 percent, a reflection of simmering inflationary jitters. House prices in 70 large and medium-sized cities rose 10.3 percent, the slowest pace in half a year. International grain prices head north, and threaten to filter through the Chinese market.
By HU YUE
July Economic Figures
CPI and PPI
The consumer price index (CPI), a barometer of inflation, grew 3.3 percent year on year in July, 0.4 percentage points faster than in June, said the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). This exceeded the government-set 3-percent target for the entire year.
The producer price index (PPI), a measure of inflation at the wholesale level, grew 4.8 percent year on year in July, 1.6 percentage points lower than in June.
The CPI was driven by increasing food prices as heavy summer rains disrupted agricultural production across the country, said Sheng Laiyun, spokesman of the NBS . Food prices, which account for about a third of the weighting in the CPI basket, climbed 6.8 percent in July.
In addition, nationwide wage growth and price increases of commodities also spilled over into the CPI, said Sheng.
"But the situation remains manageable," he said. "With bank lending wearing off and the PPI heading south, the inflationary pressures will ease in the months to come."
China's exports jumped 38.1 percent year on year to $145.52 billion in July, but the growth rate was down from June's 43.9 percent, said the General Administration of Customs.
Imports increased 22.7 percent from a year earlier to reach $116.79 billion, compared with 34.1 percent in June. The trade surplus stood at $28.7 billion, the highest level since February 2009.
Exports were stronger than expected in part because exporters rushed through deals before the export tax rebate cancellation on 406 items took effect on July 15, said Li Huiyong, a senior analyst with the Shenyin & Wanguo Securities Co. Ltd.
House prices in 70 large and medium-sized cities rose 10.3 percent year on year in July, compared with 11.4 percent in June, said the NBS. It was the third consecutive month that the prices rose at a slower pace and the lowest rate in six months.
Prices of new homes grew 12.9 percent from one year ago while second-hand home prices increased 6.7 percent.
The property fever is cooling off, but the growth rate is still more than policymakers expected, said Gu Yunchang, Deputy Director of the China Real Estate and Housing Research Association.