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China CPI growth rebounds to 3.6 pct in March

(Xinhua)

09:43, April 09, 2012

Consumers choose goods at a supermarket in Shanghai, east China, March 17, 2012. China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, expands 3.6 percent year-on-year in March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on April 9, 2012. (Xinhua/Liu Ying)

BEIJING, April 9 (Xinhua) -- China's inflation rebounded slightly in March after logging an extremely low growth in February, backing lingering uncertainty regarding the country's ability to contain price rises.

China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, expanded 3.6 percent year-on-year in March, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Monday.

The growth represents a climb from the 3.2-percent rate registered in February, the lowest pace in 20 months.

Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in the calculation of China's CPI, increased 7.5 percent last month from one year earlier.

The rebound comes as the public fret over vegetable and fuel price hikes that have triggered a fresh wave of inflation concerns.

Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that the wholesale prices of 18 staple vegetables rose for four consecutive weeks from February, posting an increase of 9.7 percent by early March.

But analysts attributed the surge to inclement weather and held that the trend is likely to be stemmed as the weather gradually warms up.

Meanwhile, oil price hikes have had only a minor impact on CPI growth as oil only plays a small part in the calculation, said Tang Jianwei, senior analyst at the Bank of Communications.

He said short-term factors will not alter the downward trend of China's inflation for the whole year.

The Chinese government is aiming to keep CPI increases to around 4 percent.

The country's CPI climbed 3.8 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous year.

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