China Sept inflation cools to near 5-year low in further sign of slowing economy

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's annual consumer inflation slowed more than expected to 1.6 per cent in September, a level not seen since January 2010, further evidence that the world's second-largest economy is cooling but giving more room to policymakers to stimulate growth if needed.

Analysts polled by Reuters had expected annual consumer inflation to ease to 1.7 per cent in September from 2 percent in August.

On a monthly basis, consumer inflation ran at 0.5 per cent in September, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. That compared with 0.4 per cent expected by economists.

The producer price index fell 1.8 pe rcent, its 31st consecutive monthly decline, as the weak economy curbed the pricing power of companies.

The market had expected a 1.6 per cent fall in producer prices after a drop of 1.2 per cent in August.