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China's inflation eases to 17-month low

(Xinhua)

11:19, June 09, 2012

BEIJING, June 9 (Xinhua) -- China's inflation unexpectedly eased to a 17-month low due to falling food prices and base effect, enhancing evidence that the government's policy shift to shore up growth.

The consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, slowed to 3.0 percent in May from a year ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Saturday. It weakened from April's 3.4 percent and 3.6 percent in March.

Compared with the previous monthly, it edged down 0.3 percent, the NBS said.

The CPI climbed 3.5 percent in the first five months compared with the same period of last year year.

Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in the calculation of China's CPI, increased 6.4 percent last month from one year earlier, down from 7 percent in April.

On a monthly basis, food prices dropped 0.9 percent from April, the NBS said.

Farm produce prices fell for five straight weeks between May 28 and June 3. Although the prices of garlic and egg surged due to dwindling output and bad weather, vegetable and pork prices have fallen remarkably, the Ministry of Commerce said Wednesday.

Meanwhile, China's Producer Price Index (PPI), a main gauge of inflation at the wholesale level, fell 1.4 percent in May from a year earlier in response to falling global commodity prices.

It fell deeper than April's 0.7 percent, and marked another month of decline yea on year after China's PPI saw a drop in March for the first time since December 2009, NBS data showed.

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