China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, grew 2.1 percent year on year in March, down from a 10-month high of 3.2 percent in February, official data showed Tuesday.
The drop is mainly due to lower food prices according to the National Bureau of Statistics. It said in a statement that year-on-year growth of food prices slowed to 2.7 percent last month from 6 percent in February.
On a month-on-month basis, food prices dropped 2.9 percent in March, as vegetable supply grew due to rising temperatures and food demand dropped from February, in which the traditional Spring Festival holiday fell.
The March CPI fell below experts' forecasts at around 2.5 percent. Wang Jun, an economist with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said mild inflation in the first quarter laid a good foundation for achieving the target of inflation control for the year.
China aims to hold this year's consumer inflation at around 3.5 percent, according to the government work report released last month.