China forecasts Q1 inflation rate between 2 to 2.5%

08:21, March 24, 2010      

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China's year-on-year inflation rate was expected to be between 2 to 2.5 percent for the first quarter this year, the country's top economic planner said here Tuesday.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, would see a "moderate increase" in the first quarter, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on its website.

China's CPI rose 2.7 percent from a year earlier in February, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Food prices would begin to fall as the weather got warmer, said the statement. In February, food prices rose 6.2 percent from the previous year due to the Lunar New Year holiday and poor weather.

The Lunar New Year holiday, or Spring Festival, is the most important traditional festival in China for family reunion. People usually spend a lot on food, alcohol, cigarettes and gifts during the period.

The February CPI was within normal range, compared with the Spring Festival months in previous years, said Zhou Wangjun, deputy director of the Department of Prices of the NDRC.

However, Zhou warned that there were still uncertainties in the price trend, including fluctuation in international commodities prices.

China targets a consumer price rise of around 3 percent this year, according to a government work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao at the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress earlier this month.

Source: Xinhua
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