The Wholesale Price-Indexed (WPI) inflation of the country slipped marginally to 2.47 per cent in March from 2.48 per cent reported for the previous month because of falling prices of food items, especially vegetables and pulses. In the same month last year, the WPI inflation was 5.11 per cent.
“The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 2.47 per cent (provisional) for March 2018 (over March 2017) as compared to 2.48 per cent (provisional) for the previous month and 5.11 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year,” the commerce ministry said in its report.
As per the official government data released Monday, food articles showed deflation at 0.29 per cent in March as against a 0.88 per cent inflation in the preceding month. 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.
Inflation in onion continued to stay high at 42.22 per cent and in potato at 43.25 per cent. Manufactured products inflation was at 3.03 per cent even as sugar prices fell 10.48 per cent during the month. However, rising crude oil prices pushed up inflation in the ‘fuel and power’ basket to 4.70 per cent in March from 3.81 per cent in the previous month.
On April 12, the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that lower food prices eased March retail inflation to 4.28 per cent from 4.44 per cent in February 2018.
Moreover, the retail inflation eased to 4.28 per cent, a five-month low in March, but remained above RBI’s medium-term target, supporting views that monetary policy is likely to remain unchanged at the next review in early June. The retail inflation slowed down mainly on account of easing food prices including vegetables.
The inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key data factored in by the RBI to arrive at interest rate, was 4.44 per cent in February. However, the March 2018 inflation is higher than 3.89 per cent recorded in the same month last year.
As per CSO data, inflation in the vegetables segment cooled to 11.7 per cent in March from 17.57 per cent in the previous month.
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. It revised downwards forecast for retail inflation to 4.7-5.1 per cent for April-September and 4.4 per cent for October-March.
(with inputs from agencies)