BEIJING - China's consumer prices increased at a four-month-high pace in May as the cost of food, especially fresh fruits, jumped, official data showed on Tuesday.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, increased 2.5 percent year on year in May, up from 1.8 percent in the previous month, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Accelerated increases in food prices were the main contributor to the higher CPI figure. Food prices increased 4.1 percent year on year, nearly double the 2.3 percent in April, lifting the CPI figure by 1.35 percentage points.
In the food category, the price of fresh fruits surged 20 percent, boosting the CPI by 0.43 percentage points.
While prices of pork, a staple of the Chinese diet, dipped 0.6 percent, those for the meat and poultry category in general increased 3.2 percent, pushing up the CPI by 0.23 percentage points.
Prices of grain went up 3 percent, lifting the CPI by 0.09 percentage points, while fresh vegetable prices went down 2.5 percent, pulling down the CPI figure by 0.08 percentage points, the NBS said.
On a monthly basis, the CPI edged up 0.1 percent in May, with the prices for eggs, pork and fresh fruits jumping 9.5 percent, 5.6 percent and 2.1 percent from April respectively and those for fresh vegetables and aquatic products declining 8.7 percent and 0.1 percent respectively.
The NBS attributed the higher CPI mainly to the "carry-over effect" resulting from a low comparison basis last year, which contributed 1.6 percentage points to the figure.
However, real price increases still contributed 0.9 percentage points to the higher CPI figure, widely seen as a boon to the world's second largest economy, which grew at its weakest pace in 18 months during the first quarter.
The higher CPI came as China's economy shows tentative signs of stabilizing. Official data showed earlier this month that growth in China's manufacturing sector continued to accelerate in May, hitting a five-month high.