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Pork prices fall, forcing down inflation rate

By ZHOU SIYU  (China Daily)

10:14, April 11, 2013

Customers look at pork and other meat at a supermarket in Handan, Hebei province. Pork prices in 36 cities fell for six consecutive weeks up to April 1, and the government is increasing pork reserves to shore up the pig industry. HAO QUNYING / FOR CHINA DAILY

China's pork prices, which weigh heavily in inflation calculations, registered a sharp decline in March, putting downward pressure on the country's inflation while leading to widespread industry losses.

Pork prices started to decline in January. They have slumped 27 percent from this year's high and fallen 15 percent compared with the same period last year, industry data show.

By April 1, pork prices in 36 cities had been declining for six straight weeks, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

The drop in pork prices, a major component in the country's inflation calculations, put a dent in inflation rate this month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, accelerated 2.1 percent in March from a year earlier, dropping from 3.2 percent in February, the bureau said on Tuesday.

The figure was below economists' forecast of around 2.5 percent, and they said this will give the government more leeway to stimulate the economy.

"We are expecting moderate inflation and more flexible monetary policies in the second quarter," said Guan Qingyou, assistant dean of the Minsheng Securities Research Institute.

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