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WPI inflation eases to 2.47% in March as food articles turn cheaper

Wholesale Inflation stands at 2.47% in March manufacturing index rises

Reflecting farmers' woes, at least in some commodities such as tomatoes, wholesale price food items saw deflation in March.

The harmonised CPI figure, calculated by NSI for comparison with European Union data, recorded a decrease of 0.2 per cent on a monthly basis, while the annual harmonised CPI in March showed a 1.9 per cent increase. Deflation in pulses was 20.58 per cent, in vegetables (2.70 per cent), wheat (1.19 per cent) and egg, meat and fish (0.82 per cent) in March.

The CSO data revealed that the consumer food price index (CFPI) stood at 2.81 percent in March compared to 3.26 percent in February 2018. The movement in core inflation at the retail and wholesale level were in the opposite direction in March 2018. 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. The GDT price index slipped 0.6 percent from the previous auction two weeks ago.

The rating agency said the slight acceleration in inflation for March is primarily attributable to an anticipated recovery in food inflation, which temporarily dipped to 3% in February from 3.8% in January. However, the price of petroleum coke and kerosene moved up.

Index for "Minerals" group declined by 2.0 percent to 119.7 (provisional) from 122.2 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of copper concentrate (14%) and phosphorite (1%).

In its first monetary policy review for 2018-19, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) earlier this month maintained status quo on interest rate citing inflationary concerns.

On April 12, the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that lower food prices eased March retail inflation to 4.28 percent from 4.44 percent in February 2018.