BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s factory-gate inflation eased to its lowest since February 2021, as raw material prices fell due to already slower construction activity, while consumer prices rose gently, bucking the sharp increases seen elsewhere.

The producer price index (PPI) rose 4.2% year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Wednesday, after a 6.1% uptick in June. Analysts had expected an increase in the PPI of 4.8% in a Reuters poll.

The consumer price index (CPI) increased 2.7% from a year earlier, after a 2.5% gain in June. In a Reuters poll of economists, consumer inflation was seen at 2.9% in July.

The world’s second-biggest economy has shown some signs of slowdown and narrowly escaped a contraction in the second quarter, weighed by strict COVID-19 controls, a distressed property market and cautious consumer sentiment.

(Reporting by Liangping Gao and Ryan Woo; Editing by Sam Holmes)