Headline inflation rose by 5.70 per cent in March, the highest in the last three months, driven largely by food and fuel prices.
According to the data released by the commerce and industry ministry, wholesale price index (WPI) accelerated to the current levels from a nine-month low of 4.68 per cent witnessed in February. January WPI inflation was revised upwards by 5.17 per cent from 5.05 per cent earlier.
The rise in the headline inflation is likely to make it difficult for the Reserve Bank of India to ease its stand on the monetary policy. After raising key lending rates three times since September last year, the RBI left its policy rate unchanged at 8 per cent this month. Economists said that the development was against market expectations and the trend is likely to continue in the months to come.
During the month, while food prices rose 9.90 per cent compared to 8.12 per cent in February, fuel prices hardened 11.22 per cent compared to 8.75 per cent in February.
March retail inflation up 8.31% on high vegetable, fruit prices
With a spike in prices of fruits and vegetables, retail inflation rose by 8.31 per cent in March after easing for three consecutive months since December 2013. Retail inflation rose 8.03 per cent in February.
Significantly, consumer price inflation (CPI) was higher in urban areas (8.89 per cent) than in rural areas where it was 7.51 per cent as retail inflation in fruits and vegetables climbed up to nearly 20 per cent in cities.