China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, expands 3.6 percent year on year in March and 3.8 percent year on year in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics said Monday.
The growth rebounds slightly from the 3.2-percent rate registered in February, the lowest pace in 20 months.
The country's CPI climbed 3.8 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous year. On a monthly basis, CPI edged up 0.2 percent in March, the NBS said.
Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in the calculation of China's CPI, increased 7.5 percent last month from one year earlier.
A new round of price increases announced recently by major producers of cooking oil, milk powder and shampoo will put some pressure on consumer prices in China for several months to come, several economists said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce showed that the wholesale prices of 18 staple vegetables rose for four consecutive weeks from February, posting an increase of 9.7 percent by early March.
But analysts attributed the surge to inclement weather and held that the trend is likely to be stemmed as the weather gradually warms up.
Meanwhile, oil price hikes have had only a minor impact on CPI growth as oil only plays a small part in the calculation, said Tang Jianwei, senior analyst at the Bank of Communications.
He said short-term factors will not alter the downward trend of China's inflation for the whole year.
The Chinese government is aiming to keep CPI increases to around 4 percent.
The country's CPI climbed 3.8 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous year.