WPI Inflation Spikes To 3.18 Pc In March On Costlier Food, Fuel

NEW DELHI — Wholesale price inflation rose to a 3-month high of 3.18 per cent in March on costlier food and fuel, government data released Monday showed.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation was at 2.93 per cent and 2.76 per cent in February and January this year, respectively, and 3.46 per cent in December 2018. It was 2.74 per cent in March last year.

Inflation in the ‘food articles’ basket hardened to 5.68 per cent during March 2019 as against 4.28 per cent in February, as prices of vegetables skyrocketed.

Vegetable inflation was at 28.13 per cent in March, up from 6.82 per cent in the previous month. However, inflation in potato cooled substantially to 1.30 per cent, from 23.40 per cent in February.

Pulses and wheat witnessed some cooling in inflation at 10.63 per cent and 10.13 per cent, respectively. Also protein rich items such as ‘egg, meat and fish’ saw inflation fall to 5.86 per cent during March.

Deflation in onion was 31.34 per cent, while the same in fruits was 7.62 per cent during the month.

Wholesale inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ category, however, spiked to 5.41 per cent, from 2.23 per cent in February.

Inflation is diesel shot up to 7.33 per cent during the month from 3.72 per cent in February. In petrol, inflation was 1.78 per cent in March, as against a deflation of 2.93 per cent in the previous month.

The Reserve Bank of India, which mainly factors in retail inflation for monetary policy decision, had earlier this month cut interest rates by 0.25 per cent to 6 per cent, while projecting retail inflation to be at 2.9-3 per cent, mainly due to lower food and fuel prices as well as normal monsoon.

Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department Monday forecast that monsoon is likely to be “near normal” this year.

Data released last week showed retail inflation accelerated to 2.86 per cent in March from 2.57 per cent a month ago.

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