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China’s inflation eases in August

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China’s inflation rate eased slightly in August, giving central leaders breathing room in the face of a worsening global economy.

The National Bureau of Statistics said Friday that the country’s consumer price index rose 6.2% last month from the previous August. That was down from 6.5% in July, which was a 37-month high.

Though inflation remains well above the government’s 4% annual target, analysts said the problem may have peaked, reducing the need for the government to employ tightening measures that could slow its economy.

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“The moderation in the CPI reading is encouraging and could give the government more policy leeway at a time when market concerns have shifted toward the potential for slower growth in the global economy,” said Jing Ulrich, JP Morgan’s chairman of global markets for China.

Falling food prices were largely responsible for tempering inflation last month, rising 13.4% from a year earlier compared with 14.8% in July.

But non-food inflation rose 3% from a year earlier, slightly up from July’s reading of 2.9%.

“China’s inflation is down but not out,” said Alistair Thornton, an economist for IHS Global Insight. “The moderation in inflation is not broad-based.”

david.pierson@latimes.com


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