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CPI rises 7.9% in first half year
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China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, rose 7.9 percent in the first half over the same period last year, 0.2 percentage points lower than the first five months, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

The figure, compared with 7.1 percent in June, 7.7 percent in May, 8.5 percent in April and a 12-year-high of 8.7 percent in February, was broadly in line with most forecasts.

The prices rose by 7.6 percent in cities and 8.6 percent in rural areas. Grouped by commodity categories, prices for food rose 20.4 percent, contributing 6.64 percentage points to the overall CPI rise and prices for housing were up 6.9 percent, contributing 1.02 percentage points.

Prices for other categories of commodities rose or dropped slightly.

Yao Jingyuan, chief economist of the bureau, attributed the slowdown of CPI growth to the government's efforts to curb inflation.

The government has introduced a wide-range of measures, including increased fiscal support for grain and food production, and raised the required reserve ratio for commercial banks. But the central bank has not raised interest rates to rein in investment growth so far this year.

Rising PPI

Despite a drop in the CPI growth, the producer price index (PPI), which measures the value of finished products when they leave the factory, rose 7.6 percent during the first half, said the bureau.

The growth rate was 4.8 percentage points higher than the same period last year. The PPI rose 8.8 percent in June from a year earlier, compared with 8.2 percent in May.

Meanwhile, the purchaser prices for raw materials, fuel and power rose 11.1 percent. The growth rate was 7.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

Li Xiaochao, spokesman of the bureau, said the rising PPI imposed greater pressures on inflation and the latest oil and power price rises could add to the pressure.

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