Wholesale inflation eases marginally to 2.47% in March'18

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Inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI) eased to 2.47 percent in March helped by a fall in food prices.

It revised downwards its forecast for retail inflation, to 4.7-5.1 percent for the April-September period and 4.4 percent for the October-March period.

Primary articles inflation was came at 0.24% in March as compared to 0.79% in the previous month.

Inflation data for January was revised upwards to 3.02 percent from the provisional estimate of 2.84 percent.

"The official Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for "All Commodities" for the month of March, 2018 rose by 0.2 per cent to 116.0 (provisional) from 115.8 (provisional) for the previous month", said the notification.

On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, onion prices soared higher by 42.22 per cent whereas potato prices rose by 43.25 per cent.

Deflation in vegetables stood at 2.70 per cent, pulses at 20.58 per cent and wheat at 1.19 per cent last month.

The sub-category of manufactured food products became dearer by 0.31 per cent.

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Going ahead, the fuel & power which bags 13.15% of total WPI, declined by 0.1% to 98.0 (provisional) from 98.1 (provisional) for the previous month. The price of petroleum coke (11 per cent) and kerosene (2 per cent) moved up.

INFLATION is expected to have held steady in March as a drop in food and fuel prices was offset by higher airfares around the earlier Easter holidays.

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.

"A significant decline in the inflation of food articles including cereals and pulses is an indicator that the government has rightly focused agriculture sector", Anil Khaitan, President, PHD Chamber was quoted as saying in a statement.

"Unlike the retail inflation which dipped by 16bps in March 2018 over the previous month, the wholesale inflation remained flat".

"However, there are some noticeable changes at the disaggregate level".

The index for "food articles" group declined by 0.4 per cent to 137.2 from 137.8 for the previous month, despite a price rise in items like ragi, jowar, peas/chawali, moong and paddy, among others. The wholesale price index was 5.11% in March 2017.

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