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April 9, 2020, 11:16 p.m. EDT

China's consumer inflation slowed in March

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By MarketWatch

BEIJING--China's consumer inflation moderated in March thanks to softening prices for both food and non-food items as businesses got back to work as the coronavirus crisis eased.

The consumer price index rose 4.3% in March from the same month a year earlier, retreating from 5.2% in February, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Friday. The reading was lower than the median forecast for a 4.8% increase made by economists in a Wall Street Journal poll.

Food prices in March grew 18.3%, decelerating from 21.9% in February. Pork prices surged 116.4% compared with 135.2% and alone boosted headline CPI by 2.79 percentage points in March.

Non-food prices rose 0.7% in March, easing from a 0.9% increase in February.

On a month-to-month basis, CPI dropped 1.2% from February, compared with 0.8% growth a month earlier.

Meanwhile, the producer price index, a gauge of factory-gate prices, dropped 1.5% on the year in March amid sluggish domestic and external demand. That compared with a 0.4% fall in February.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected producer inflation to fall 1.1%.

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