A tailor displays fabrics in Beijing’s Cental Business District.
Alarm bells are definitely ringing in boardrooms across China.
Eating into exporters’ profit margins, producer prices jumped 6.1 percent last month to a three-year high.Meanwhile, labour wages last year rose 20 percent and the yuan has appreciated more than nine percent against the US dollar in the past 14 months.
This has meant that more exporters face bankruptcy unless they lift prices to salvage their disappearing margins, which is just what most plan to do.
According to a survey by brokerage and research firm CLSA, 80 percent of Chinese exporters intend to raise prices this year in response to higher raw material costs.
“The appreciation of the renminbi (yuan) against the US dollar is a secondary factor driving these price hikes,” Shanghai-based CLSA economist Andy Rothman said in the survey.
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Does this mean that China is finally moving up the value added chain?, will it create more opportunity in the area for Vietnam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Burma in the low cost manufacturing space? Or will this erode China’s edge as a low cost manufacturer the world depended on for cheap goods, giving rise to India’s dominance as a quality supplier?