BEIJING, Aug. 9 -- China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, grew 2.3 percent year on year in July, the same pace as a month earlier, official data showed on Saturday.
The growth rate was also the same as that of the first half of this year, showing stable pricing in the world's second-largest economy, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
In July, inflation grew 2.4 percent in urban areas and 2.1 percent in rural areas, NBS data showed.
Food prices, which account for about one third of the weighting in the CPI calculation, grew 3.6 percent year on year in July, down from 3.7 percent in June.
The Chinese government aims to hold consumer inflation at around 3.5 percent this year.
Yang Hongxu, deputy head of the Shanghai-based E-House China R&D Institute, said the July inflation was "in a very comfortable range."
"Residents will feel the pain if inflation goes too high, but the economy and companies will suffer if it is too low. CPI at about 2 percent is an ideal level," Yang said.
The cooling housing market would also be conducive to ensuring steady consumer prices, he added.
Residential prices, which cover those for rent, utilities and building materials, grew by 2 percent year on year amid a weakening property sector.
NBS data showed that growth in property development investment slowed to 14.1 percent in the first half from 20.3 percent in the same period of 2013, and housing sales dropped 6 percent year on year in the first six months.