Still in negative, India’s inflation rate firms up

New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) India’s annual wholesale inflation for September firmed up slightly at (-) 4.54 percent from (-)4.95 percent for the previous month, official data released on Wednesday showed.

The annual inflation rate, based on the official wholesale price index (WPI), was ruling at 2.38 percent in September, last year.

The slight firmness was attributed to rising prices of onions, pulses, milk, egg, meat and fish, which have continued to hit household budgets.

On a month-on-month basis, the annual rate of inflation has been in the negative territory since November last year.

The data furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, revealed a revised rate of the headline inflation for July. The WPI inflation was revised lower to (-) 4.00 percent from (-) 4.05 percent which was reported on August 14, this year.

For the last six months, the revised WPI data has been (-)0.95 percent in January, (-)2.06 percent in February to (-)2.33 percent in March to (-)2.43 percent in April, (-)2.20 percent in May, (-)2.13 percent in June and (-)4.00 percent in July.

The data revealed that among the three major sub-indices of the WPI, the inflation rate for primary articles and manufactured products inched up by 0.4 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively.

The index for fuels and power, meanwhile, slipped by 1.7 percent.

The final rate of inflation for the three sub-indices for last month stood at primary articles (-)2.09 percent, manufactured products (-)1.73 percent and fuel and power (-)17.71 percent.

However, food inflation in the month under review edged up by 0.69 percent from a decline of 1.13 percent recorded in August and 3.68 percent in the corresponding month of last year.

During the month under review, some commodities of mass consumption continued to upset household budgets and notable among them was onion, whose price was higher by as much as 113.70 percent over the like month of the previous year. Pulses were dearer by 38.56 percent.

Other protein-rich food items such as milk, eggs, meat and fish recorded modest price increases. On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, milk was costly by 2.16 percent while eggs, meat and fish prices rose by 2.02 percent.

At the same time potatoes and vegetables were cheaper by 57.34 percent and 9.45 percent, respectively. Even the prices of cereals and rice fell. Cereals depreciated by 1.02 percent and rice were cheaper by 3.64 percent.

The wholesale inflation data comes on the back of retail inflation for September, based on the consumer price index (CPI) which increased to 4.41 percent — from 3.74 percent recorded for the previous month.

Even under the manufactured products category, prices of commodities pertaining to food fell — especially sugar that was lower by 16.30 percent year-on-year.

However, edible oil prices grew by 3.21 percent YoY.

Under fuels — the index for which was down 17.71 percent — petrol was cheaper by 14.78 percent and diesel by 28.06 percent. Cost of cooking gas fell by 5.33 percent.

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