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Causes and consequences of China’s contagious case of deflation

First published:, 24/12/2014

Monetary policy might not be enough and governments may be forced to step in

The 50 per cent fall in oil prices this year is self-evidently good news for all but oil-producing states, regions and companies. It also reminds us that the world economy is deflation-prone — both because of deficient demand in Europe, Japan and several big emerging markets and because China’s deflation, rooted in excess capacity, is structural and of growing significance.

A persistent and as yet unfinished slowdown in the country’s economic growth has been accompanied by the emergence of substantial overcapacity, a significant rise in non-financial corporate debt and a big drop in inflation. Between 2011 and November 2014, Chinese producer prices fell by 10 per cent — the annual change has been negative for 33 months — and the annual rate of consumer price inflation has fallen from 6 per cent to 1.4 per cent over the same period….“more:”