China Inflation Edges Up to 1.6 Percent in July

BEIJING (AP) -

China’s consumer inflation edged up to a still-low 1.6 percent year-on-year in July, government data showed Sunday, leaving room for Beijing to cut interest rates or take other steps to stimulate slowing economic growth.

The inflation rate rose from the previous month’s 1.4 percent. The National Bureau of Statistics said that costs rose for medical care, vegetables, household services, tobacco and pre-school education.

July’s consumer price index was the highest so far in 2015.

The government aims to keep consumer inflation at around 3 percent this year.

Producer prices fell 5.4 percent from a year earlier, extending a long period of declines due to excess production capacity in many industries.

Forecasters say the economy grew by 7 percent or slightly below that in the three months ending in June, in line with the previous quarter’s six-year low of 7 percent.

Growth has cooled as the ruling Communist Party tries to steer the economy to a more self-sustaining expansion based on domestic consumption instead of trade and investment.