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Slower climb in Shanghai's CPI

SHANGHAI'S Consumer Price Index rose at a slower pace for the sixth consecutive month in January when it climbed 1.7 percent from a year earlier, as the global financial turmoil took its toll on consumption demand.

The slower rise in the city's CPI mirrored that of the national CPI which gained 1 percent in January year on year to chalk up the slowest pace in 30 months. The national CPI, the main gauge of inflation, was 0.4 percentage point lower than that in December, said the National Bureau of Statistics.

Compared to December the city's CPI grew 0.5 percent last month. It was the first monthly rise in six months as the Lunar New Year fell in January.

Food prices, a major driver of inflation, increased 7.8 percent last month in Shanghai on an annual basis, with the cost of vegetables soaring 43 percent from a year ago and aquatic products jumping 11 percent, according to the Shanghai Statistics Bureau.

Prices of alcohol and tobacco, medical and health care products, personal goods and home products fell in January.

Cai Xuchu, chief economist with the Shanghai bureau, earlier forecast inflation in the city to ease further this year. He said although prices may rise, the government will take measures to avoid wide fluctuations in prices.

China is trying to boost the economy via fiscal measures and an easing of its monetary policy.

Although the Chinese government was worried about inflation in the first half of 2008, the economic slowdown in the second half has led to sharp drops in commodity prices and inflation eased from the third quarter.


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