A consumer picks vegetables at a supermarket in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, on Feb 10, 2023. (JIA MINJIE / FOR CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING – China's consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, rose 1 percent year-on-year in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The figure was lower than the 2.1-percent increase recorded in January, according to a NBS statement. On a monthly basis, the consumer prices dropped 0.5 percent, reversing the 0.8 percent-increase in the previous month.

Dong Lijuan, a statistician with the NBS, attributed the mild inflation to retreating market demand after the Spring Festival holiday that falls in January and ample goods supply.

The core CPI, deducting food and energy prices, climbed 0.6 percent from a year ago last month, down from 1 percent seen in January, said Dong Lijuan, a statistician with the National Bureau of Statistics

Compared to January, food prices, especially that of the staple meat pork and vegetables, played the main role in dragging down the overall price level. Non-food prices also inched down, with falling costs in travel, cinema tickets and services from haircuts to housekeeping.

The core CPI, deducting food and energy prices, climbed 0.6 percent from a year ago last month, down from 1 percent seen in January, Dong said.

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PPI down 1.4 percent

The country's producer price index, which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, went down 1.4 percent year-on-year in February, NBS data showed.

The decrease expanded by 0.6 percentage points from that registered in January. On a monthly basis, China's PPI remained flat in February, according to the bureau.

Workers produce solar panels for export at a factory in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, on Jan 3, 2023. (SI WEI / FOR CHINA DAILY)

"As industrial enterprises' production recovery accelerated and market demand improved last month, the PPI remained flat month-on-month," said NBS statistician Dong.

"But owing to the high comparison base from the same period last year, the year-on-year decline continued," Dong said.

The PPI of the oil and gas extraction industry rose 1.7 percent month-on-month. Due to improved market expectations in the metals-related industry and recovering demand, the PPI of the ferrous-metal smelting and pressing industry rose 1.7 percent from January.

However, the country's stable coal production and reduced demand for heating coal led to a 2.2-percent drop in the PPI of the coal mining and washing industry last month.

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The PPI of computer communications and other electronic equipment manufacturing industries declined 1.1 percent month-on-month, while that of the agricultural and sideline food processing industry edged down 0.3 percent from January.