Wholesale inflation softens marginally to 2.47% as food items turn cheaper

A vendor arranges vegetable at his stall in a market in Mumbai

A vendor arranges vegetable at his stall in a market in Mumbai

Meanwhile, the WPI inflation for January 2018 has been revised upwards to 3.02 per cent from a level of 2.84 percent (provisional) earlier.

Index for "Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas" group declined by 0.5 percent to 80.2 (provisional) from 80.6 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of crude petroleum (1%).

The overall prices have fallen, as food articles have turned cheaper in the last few months. The reduction in pulse prices was pegged at 20.58%, in vegetables at 2.70%, wheat at 1.19 % and egg, meat and fish at 0.82% in March.

Britons are believed to have benefited from slightly weaker food prices, which had surged on the back of the weaker pound, as well as a bigger month-on-month drop in fuel prices than a year earlier. Manufactured products inflation was at 3.03 per cent even as sugar prices fell 10.48 per cent during the month, as per the monthly data.

Despite keeping rates on hold, the committee said that "ongoing tightening of monetary policy" would be needed to bring inflation back to the Bank's 2 per cent target.

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In monthly terms, it was the first month that recorded deflation after eight months in a row of CPI growth and only the third time in the past 12 months that consumer prices shrank.

According to industry body PHD Chamber, the consistent decline in WPI indicated "that the government has undertaken effective measures at the ground to address the supply side problems of the economy during the last few years". The index for fuel and power (weight 13.15 per cent) also declined by 0.1 per cent to 98.0 from 98.1 for the previous month due to lower price of LPG, naphtha, HSD, bitumen, petrol and furnace oil.

As per the official government data released Monday, food articles showed deflation at 0.29 per cent in March as against a 0.88 per cent inflation in the preceding month.

Sunil Kumar Sinha, Director, Public Finance and Principal Economist, India Ratings said: "Unlike the retail inflation which dipped by 16bp in March 2018 over the previous month, the wholesale inflation remained flat".

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