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China's Inflation Eases In March; PPI Falls For Second Month

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China's consumer price inflation slowed more-than-expected to a five-month low in March as measures to contain the spread of coronavirus, or covid-19, lowered household demand, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Friday.

Consumer prices rose 4.3 percent year-on-year in March, slower than the 5.2 percent increase in February. Inflation was forecast to slow to 4.9 percent.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices fell 1.2 percent, which was the first fall in nine months. Prices had advanced 0.8 percent in February.

Pork prices, main source of food inflation, grew 116.4 percent annually, but slower than the 135.2 percent rise in February.

Food prices gained 18.3 percent and non-food prices advanced 0.7 percent.

Core inflation, which excludes food and energy prices, rose to 1.2 percent from 1 percent in February.

Due to the sufficient market supply, prices of eggs, fish products and fruits decreased and the fall in global oil prices lowered diesel and cooking gas costs, the statistical office said.

Another report from the NBS showed that producer price deflation deepened in March. Producer prices declined 1.5 percent on a yearly basis, after easing 0.4 percent in February.

Economists had forecast a 1.1 percent fall. This was the second consecutive decrease in prices. Month-on-month, producer prices dropped 1 percent in March.

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