Food price inflation slowed from -4.4% in February to -4.3% for March.
According tofigures released by China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday, consumer price inflation (CPI) increased by just 0.9% from a year earlier.
Many private economists expect inflation will surpass 3 percent this year.
Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index, which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, rose 7.6 percent, 0.2 percentage points slower than February's 7.8 percent, which was a eight-year record.
The main downward pressure on the cost of living came from air fares, which fell by 3.9 per cent between February and March after jumping by 22.9 per cent past year.
Hotel and airline fares had been higher in March 2016 due to the timing of Easter at the end of the month - so that instead, prices would be higher in April. The cost of flying becomes more expensive around the Easter holiday period. China cut gasoline and diesel retail prices late last month by the most so far this year.
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Nikhil Gupta, Madhurmi Chowdary analysts at Motilal Oswal had said, "It implies that CPI inflation averaged 4.6% in FY17 YTD (until February), as against 4.9% in the year-ago period".
"While food price inflation rose, from 0.3 percent to 1.6 percent, this was offset by a fall in core inflation from 2.0 percent to 1.8 percent".
The PPI increased 0.3% in March from a month earlier. This year's target has been left unchanged. Prices for local goods went up by 7.3 per cent, while imported commodities rose 9.1 per cent and those of fresh products increased by 17.3 percent during the period under review.
"However, all countries are now seeing an increase in food prices as a result of the upward trend in global food prices".
China's consumer inflation grew mildly in March, as stable prices reinforced the view that the world's second largest economy is firming up.
Sterling rose momentarily following the announcements before slipping back to a 0.1% drop against the United States dollar at 1.241, and a 0.1% fall versus the euro at 1.170.
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