BEIJING, Sep. 11 -- China's consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, in August rose by a 22-month high of 3.5 percent from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Saturday.
The increase was 0.2 percentage points higher than that in July, the NBS said.
It was the second consecutive month the CPI exceeded the government's full-year target of 3 percent.
On a month-on-month basis, China's CPI grew 0.6 percent in August from July, NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun said.
Food prices, which have about a one-third weighting in the calculation of the CPI, climbed 7.5 percent year on year in August, according to NBS statistics. The pace of growth quickened from the 6.8-percent rise in July and 5.7-percent growth in June.
Increases in the price of agricultural products were the major contributor to the quickened CPI growth in August, Sheng said.
According to NBS statistics, the price of pork jumped 9 percent in August over July while vegetable prices increased 7.7 percent and egg prices gained 7.5 percent month on month.
Analysts expect the country's CPI growth to ease in the fourth quarter.
Zhu Jianfang, chief analyst at Citic Securities, said the pace of food price increases is likely to ease from September and that the chances of an interest rate hike are slim.
The country's CPI increased 2.8 percent year on year in the first eight months of the year, accelerating from the 2.7-percent increase in the January-July period.
"With proper regulation for the rest of the year, it is still feasible to realize the government's full-year inflation target," Sheng said.
The producer price index (PPI), a major measure of inflation at the wholesale level, rose 4.3 percent in August from a year earlier, slower than July's 4.8-percent growth, Sheng said.
For the first eight months, PPI climbed 5.6 percent compared with the same period last year, decelerating from the 5.8-percent increase in the January-July period.
During the press conference, Sheng repeated the NBS's statement of Friday that the bureau's decision to announce the monthly economic data two days ahead of schedule was because it wanted to reduce the period between data production and release and share the data as soon as possible.
There was no special reason for the change and it should not be "over-interpreted", he said.
The announcement of the schedule change Friday sparked market speculation China's central bank might raise benchmark interest rates before the start of trade Monday