Inflation in China remained stable in July at 2.7 percent, a figure that was below the official target and could pave the way for stimulus measures to combat a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
The consumer price index in July was unchanged from the previous month and far beneath the government's inflation target of 3.5 percent for all of 2013, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
Wholesale prices, meanwhile, fell by 2.3 percent year-on-year in July and have now declined for 17 consecutive months, indicative of weak domestic demand.
In the first seven months of the year, the average monthly increase in consumer prices was 2.4 percent.
If this "benign" level of inflation persists, it could lead to measures to stimulate the economy, which has decelerated in nine of the past 10 quarters.
Many economists, however, have ruled out the possibility of a relaxation of monetary policy, such as lower interest rates.
China's economy grew 7.8 percent in 2012 and is expected to expand in 2013 by 7.5 percent, which would be its lowest growth rate in 23 years.
The slowdown has come as China has begun to shift its economic model to one less dependent on exports and government investment and more reliant on domestic consumption.
The Politburo of China's Communist Party pledged last month to "tweak economic policy when necessary," a statement interpreted as its willingness to maintain a stable economic climate in the year's second half while reforms are being carried out to put the Asian giant on a path to long-term sustainable growth. EFE