China’s inflation edged up in March as the government shifted focus from containing politically dangerous price rises to stimulating its slowing economy.

The government said Monday that consumer prices rose 3.6 per cent over a year earlier, up from February’s 3.2 per cent. That was driven by a 7.5 per cent rise in food costs, up from the previous month’s 6.2 per cent.

Beijing shifted focus from cooling prices to shoring up economic growth after inflation eased from a high of 6.5 per cent in July. Beijing has promised to ease lending curbs to help companies that have been battered by a slump in global demand.

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