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China's January inflation slows to 5-year low

China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, grew 0.8 percent year on year in January, the slowest rise in more than five years, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Tuesday.

Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of weighting in China's CPI, increased 1.1 percent year on year. On a monthly basis, consumer prices in January edged up 0.3 percent.

The NBS attributed the tempering growth to retreating food prices due to warmer weather during the period. A bigger comparison base last year, and global oil prices also helped drag down the price levels.

Meanwhile, China's producer price index (PPI), which measures wholesale inflation, plunged 4.3 percent year on year in January, marking the 35th straight month of decline, pointing to continued weak market demand.

China's economy grew 7.4 percent in 2014, the weakest annual expansion in 24 years, and a string of economic indicators for the new year, including manufacturing and trade data, all suggested continued weakness.

In the latest move to support growth, the central bank last week decided to lower reserve requirement ratio (RRR), the minimum level of reserves banks must hold, by 50 basis points from February 5, the first universal RRR cut since May 2012.


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