China’s inflation slowed to 4.1% in December from a year earlier, down slightly from 4.2% the month before but slightly above expectations, Dow Jones reported. Food price inflation picked up somewhat, rising 9.1% year-on-year compared to 8.8% in November. However, the lower overall CPI figure marks the fifth consecutive month of slowing inflation, down from a peak of 6.5% in July 2011. Lower inflation could give Beijing more room to implement fiscal stimulus or monetary easing if slow growth in Europe and the US threatens China’s economic prospects. “We think Beijing is reasonably comfortable with policy settings, with any shift in the near-term likely to take the form of lower bank reserve requirements rather than cuts in benchmark interest rates,” wrote Brian Jackson, an economist at Royal Bank of Canada.