China's CPI to be 'lower than 4%' in 2009

By Diao Ying and Zheng Lifei (
Updated: 2009-03-10 13:56

China's consumer price index (CPI) will be lower than 4 percent this year, a top central bank official said on Tuesday.

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The country's CPI dropped 1.6 percent year-on-year, the first negative growth since December 2002, according to National Bureau of Statistics figures released Tuesday.

"The CPI is running at a low for the time being, but as the economy picks up gradually, CPI will rise accordingly, but it will be lower than the 4 percent target set by Premier Wen Jiabao's government report," said Su Ning, deputy governor of the central bank.

China's tightening monetary policy starting at the end of 2007 caused the CPI to start falling last May after it peaked at 8.7 percent in February 2008. It fell to 1.0 percent in January 2009, the lowest in 30 months.