BEIJING – China’s consumer inflation slowed to a 13-month low last month, far below an official inflation target, which should create more room for policy easing measures to stoke demand.
China’s consumer-price index rose 1.5% in February from a year earlier, compared with a 1.7% increase in January, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday. February’s reading was lowest since early 2018, though it was higher than a median forecast of 1.4% growth by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.
Consumer inflation in February slipped further below an official target for CPI to grow about 3% this year.
Weighing on inflation were softer food prices, which rose 0.7% from a year earlier, slowing sharply from January’s 1.9% gain. Heavy-weighted pork prices declined nearly 5% on year, shaving the headline inflation by about 0.12 percentage point. Nonfood prices rose 1.7% from a year earlier, the same as January.
On a month-over-month basis, the CPI rose 1.0% in February. In January, the index climbed 0.5% from the previous month.
Producer-price inflation held steady last month, but still close to deflation. The producer-price index edged up 0.1% in February, the same as January, matching economists’ median forecast.
The gauge of factory-gate prices edged down 0.1% in February from a month earlier. In January, it declined 0.6% from the month before.