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The Associated Press October 13, 2011, 10:19PM ET

China's September inflation eases further

China's inflation edged lower in September but consumers still faced a double-digit jump in politically sensitive food costs despite government efforts to increase supplies.

Consumer prices rose 6.1 percent, down from August's 6.2 percent gain but still well above the government's 4 percent target for the year, data showed Friday. Food price inflation held steady at August's level of 13.4 percent.

Stubbornly high inflation has complicated Beijing's efforts to steer rapid economic growth to a more sustainable level while keeping its expansion on track amid global weakness and declining exports.

The government has launched a series of measures to bring down the cost of pork, vegetables and other basic foods by increasing supplies. But those efforts have been set back by summer storms that wrecked crops.

Inflation is politically dangerous for China's communist leaders because it erodes the economic gains that underpin the ruling party's claim to power.

Price rises peaked at a 37-month high of 6.5 percent in July and are expected to ease further as the autumn harvest comes in. That would give Chinese leaders more leeway to act if they need to stimulate the economy to ward off the impact of the West's malaise.

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