Consumer prices fell 1.5% year-on-year in April, continuing a deflationary trend, though analysts expect prices to start heading upward later in the year, AP reported. The consumer price index, which is heavily weighted toward food, fell for the third month in a row after declining 1.2% in March and 1.6% in February, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics. Producer prices fell 6.6% in April from a year earlier, compared with 6.0% in March, due in large part to lower energy costs. Deflation is expected to persist in China for several more months on account of excess inventory across many industries. Separately, the central bank reported that new bank lending declined sharply in April, falling to US$87 billion in new loans compared to US$278 billion the previous month.