Headline inflation declined for the fourth straight month in a row to -2.06 per cent during February, as the prices of manufactured products, fuel, power and food products dipped, bringing in relief for the common man. The sharp decline increased the industry clamour for a rate cut by the central bank.
However, during the month onions, pulses and protein-rich items became dearer, according to the ministry of commerce and industry.
The data showed that the rate of price rise, as gauged by wholesale price index (WPI), during the previous month had fallen to -0.39 per cent while it had declined -0.50 per cent in December. The WPI for February 2014 was 5.03 per cent.
During the April-February period, the WPI declined -2.50 per cent compared to a build up rate of 5.53 per cent in the corresponding period of the last fiscal. WPI inflation for December was revised lower from 0.11 per cent to -0.5 per cent, an official statement said.
However, experts said that the unseasonal rains this month could be a dampener. “The decline in food inflation will be short-lived as unseasonal rains have started to have an effect on production. We expect the government to act pro-actively as food inflation is likely move up from the next month onwards,” Anis Chakravarty, senior director, Deloitte, said.