BEIJING, 10th March, 2016 (WAM) — China’s consumer prices increased 2.3 percent in February from one year earlier, up from January’s 1.8 percent, official data showed Thursday.

The inflation rate, the highest since July 2014, beat expectations as economists from the Bank of Communications, and China Merchants Bank had forecast an increase of 1.8-percent year-on-year for February.

Consumer Price Index, CPI, the main gauge of inflation, grew 1.6 percent month-on-month, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement, carried by state-run news agency, Xinhua.

Since this January, CPI data has been based on a new comparison base that takes into account new products and services, reflecting a change in the consumption pattern, according to NBS. The adjustment slightly tuned down the weight of food.

China’s producer price index, PPI, which measures wholesale inflation, dropped for the 48th-consecutive month to 4.9 percent year-on-year in February, narrowing from the 5.3 percent drop in January and 5.9 percent in December.

NBS statistician Yu Qiumei said that vegetable and pork prices went up due to the cold weather in February, and demand for pork and transportation rose around the Lunar New Year holiday. Service prices increased along with labour costs.

Month-on-month, producer prices in February edged down 0.3 percent.

WAM/tfaham/Moran