A consumer buys fruit at a supermarket in Fuyang, East China's Anhui province, on March 10, 2020. (LU QIJIAN / FOR CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING - China's consumer inflation eased in March on retreating food prices as economic activities including transport and logistics gradually recovered after effective epidemic containment in the country, official data showed Friday.
China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, grew 4.3 percent year on year last month, moderating from the 5.2-percent gain in February, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.
Compared with the same period last year, food prices remained elevated due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, rising 18.3% year on year and contributing 3.7 percentage points of the index's yearly growth
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went down 1.2 percent. Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of weighting in China's CPI, headed down 3.8 percent last month.
In breakdown, grain and oil prices were stable, while vegetable prices fell 12.2 percent over rising supplies in spring. Pork prices started to soften as the government took measures to boost supplies to mitigate the impacts of the African swine fever and the coronavirus epidemic.
Prices of the staple meat in China dropped 6.9 percent from a month earlier.
Compared with the same period last year, food prices remained elevated due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, rising 18.3 percent year on year and contributing 3.7 percentage points of the index's yearly growth.
In the first quarter, CPI went up 4.9 percent year on year on average.
Friday's data also showed China's producer price index, which measures inflation at the factory gates, fell 1.5 percent year on year last month.
The rate eased from the 5.2-percent growth for February.
On a month-on-month basis, the PPI fell 1 percent last month.
In the first quarter of 2020, the PPI on average inched down 0.6 percent from the same period of last year.
Factory prices of capital goods decreased 2.4 percent year on year in March, widening from a 1-percent decline in February.
Ten of the 40 surveyed industries saw price hikes month on month, while 28 reported price drops and two witnessed unchanged prices.
Among major industries, prices for oil and natural gas extraction saw the fastest retreat in March, plunging by 21.7 percent year on year.
Prices for processing of oil, coal and other fuel slumped 10.6 percent year on year, while those of chemical raw materials and chemical products manufacturing went down 5.3 percent over one year ago in March.
The bureau's senior statistician Dong Lijuan said the carry-over effect of last year's price movements was almost zero, while new factors contributed entirely to the overall 1.5-percent drop last month.
Monday's data also showed China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, grew 4.3 percent year on year in March, moderating from 5.2 percent in February.
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