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China March consumer inflation slows to 2.1 pct y/y, PPI at 3.1 pct

BEIJING, April 11 (Reuters) - China's annual consumer inflation slowed to 2.1 percent in March, lagging economists' forecasts, official data showed on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI) had been expected to rise 2.6 percent from a year earlier, weakening from a 2.9 percent gain in February, according to a Reuters poll.

The producer price index (PPI) rose 3.1 percent from a year earlier, cooling to a 17-month low, also easing from the previous month's rise of 3.7 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website.

Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted producer inflation would ease to 3.2 percent in March.

China has set its consumer inflation goal at "around 3 percent" for 2018, in line with last year, according to the premier's work report.

(Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk Editing by Shri Navaratnam)