UPDATE 1-Kazakh March inflation slows to 0.3 pct m/m
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ALMATY, April 2 (Reuters) - Inflation in Kazakhstan slowed to 0.3 percent month-on-month in March from 0.4 percent in February, data released on Monday by the State Statistics Agency showed.
Inflation in what is Central Asia's largest economy fell to an annual 5.1 percent in March from 7.4 percent in December, the statistics showed.
Consumer prices grew by 1.1 percent in the first three months of 2012, having risen by 3.7 percent in January to March period of 2011.
The government is targeting full-year inflation within a range of 6.0 percent to 8.0 percent. Kazakhstan's consumer prices rose by 7.4 percent in 2011 after a 7.8-percent rise in 2010.
The central bank announced last week that it would reduce its key refinancing rate to a historic low of 6.5 percent effective April 2, responding to slowing inflation and seeking to shore up oil-fueled economic growth.
A similar reduction by 50 basis points on Feb. 14 had been the first rate cut since September 2009.
Kazakhstan's economy expanded by 7.5 percent in 2011 and is expected to grow by 6.9 percent this year, benefiting from high world prices for its oil and other commodities. (Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by David Brunnstrom)
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