India’s wholesale inflation marginally down in January

New Delhi, Feb 15 (IANS) Thanks to a seasonal softening in food prices and a sharp drop in fuel costs, India’s annual wholesale rate of inflation declined marginally to (-)0.90 percent for January from (-)0.73 percent for the month before, official data showed on Monday.

The anual inflation, however, stood higher at (-)0.95 percent during January 2015.

It was the 15th straight month since November 2014 that deflationary pressure persisted and wholesale inflation has remained in the negative zone.

As per the wholesale price index numbers released by the ministry of commerce and industry, though the annual food inflation declined, it was still high at 6.02 percent, against 8.17 percent in the month before, with pulses dearer by 44.91 percent and vegetables up 12.52 percent. Potato prices were down 17.08 percent.

The annual inflation rates of other major categories such as fuels and manufactured products remained in the negative – at (-)9.21 percent and (-)1.17 percent respectively.

India’s overall retail prices too have been rising. Annual retail inflation climbed to 5.69 percent in January from 5.61 percent in the month before, data on the consumer price index (CPI) showed last week.

Food inflation, or CFPI, during the month, ruled higher at 6.85 percent, as compared to 6.4 percent in December 2015 and at 6.14 percent in January 2015.

While rural retail inflation in January was 6.48 percent, the urban CPI came in appreciably lower at 4.81 percent.

The retail inflation in January was mainly driven up by higher food costs. The inflation in food and beverages during the month was 6.66 percent.

As per Monday’s data on wholesale prices, the annual inflation for pulses in general eased to 44.91 percent, and for onions to 5.51 percent.

The Reserve Bank of India has set a 6 percent retail inflation target for January 2016. Presenting the first bi-monthly monetary policy statement for this fiscal in April last year, RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said the CPI inflation would hover around 5 percent in the first half of the fiscal, and a little above 5.5 percent in the second half.

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