BEIJING, May 9 (Xinhua) -- China's consumer prices increased at a slower pace in April as the cost of fresh vegetables and pork both declined, official data showed on Friday.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, increased 1.8 percent year on year in April, down from 2.4 percent in the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Slower increases in food prices were the main contributor to the lower CPI figure. Food prices increased 2.3 percent year on year, down from 4.1 percent in March.
Prices of pork, a staple of the Chinese diet, fell 7.2 percent, dragging down the CPI by 0.21 percentage points. Prices for the whole meat and poultry category dipped 0.7 percent, dragging down the CPI by 0.05 percentage points.
Fresh vegetable prices went down 7.9 percent, pulling down the CPI figure by 0.28 percentage points, the NBS said.
Wang Jun, an economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think tank, attributed the falling pork prices to the "improved relationship between supply and demand".
The fall in vegetable prices was mainly due to lower logistics costs resulting from the government's infrastructure building, Wang added.
The CPI rose 2.2 percent in the first four months from a year earlier, much below the government's 2014 target of about 3.5 percent.
Niu Li, an economist at the State Information Center which is under the National Development and Reform Commission, said the moderate CPI was a "reflection of the weak overall demand and slower economic growth".
The lower CPI came as China's economy is showing signs of slowing down. For the January-March period, the economy grew by 7.4 percent, down from 7.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 and marking the lowest quarterly growth level since the third quarter of 2012.