China March producer inflation cools, consumer inflation below forecast

BEIJING, April 12 (Reuters) - China’s producer price inflation cooled for the first time in seven months in March as iron ore and coal prices tumbled, pressured by fears that domestic demand is not strong enough to absorb surging supplies of steel.

The producer price index (PPI) rose 7.6 percent from a year earlier, in line with economists’ expectations for a moderation from the previous month’s gain of 7.8 percent.

China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.9 percent from a year earlier, edging up from February’s 0.8 percent but slightly below analysts’ forecasts, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted March consumer price inflation would edge up to 1.0 percent but remain well within the central bank’s comfort zone, giving it room to continue with a gradual pace of monetary policy tightening without risking crimping economic growth. (Reporting by Nicholas Heath and Yawen Chen; Editing by Kim Coghill)