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September WPI inflation cools to 2.6% on lower food prices (Roundup)

New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) Cooling of food prices helped ease India’s annual rate of inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI) in September to 2.6 per cent, official data showed on Monday, even as industry welcomed the numbers saying it had opened room for the RBI to cut interest rates.

According to data released here by the Commerce Ministry, the WPI, with the revised base year of 2011-12, eased from 3.24 per cent in August. The wholesale inflation rate was at 1.36 per cent during September 2016.

“The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index consisting of ‘Food Articles’ from Primary Articles group, and ‘Food Product’ from Manufactured Products group decreased from 4.41 per cent in August to 1.99 per cent in September,” the statement said.

“Index of ‘Food Articles’ group declined by 4 per cent for the previous month due to lower price of fruits and vegetables (15 per cent), betel leaves (6 per cent), ragi (4 per cent), bajra (3 per cent), pork, maize and tea (2 per cent each) and poultry chicken (1 per cent),” it added.

Onion prices, however, continued to remain high with a 79.78 per cent increase in September. The eggs, meat and fish category saw a price rise of 5.47 per cent.

Wholesale prices had risen in July to 1.88 per cent from June’s 0.90 per cent hike and an increase of 2.26 per cent reported for May.

On a segment-wise basis, expenses on primary articles, which constitute 22.62 per cent of the WPI’s total weightage, declined during the month in consideration by 3 per cent, from an increase of 2.26 per cent in August.

The index for ‘Non-Food Articles’ declined marginally by 0.2 per cent in September, as compared to the previous month.

Instead, prices of the other major group under the WPI — manufactured products — which comprise nearly 64.23 per cent of the index, rose marginally by 0.4 per cent.

Also, the fuel and power price index’s inflation accelerated in September by 1.7 per cent over the previous month while, under this category, ‘mineral oils’ rose by 3.3 per cent.

Product-wise, the price of high-speed diesel rose by 2 per cent during September, while that for petrol climbed by 3 per cent, and for LPG by 10 per cent.

Data last week showed retail inflation remained static in September at 3.28 per cent as compared to August, with a marginal drop in the food prices

On a sequential basis, the country’s Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) dropped to 1.25 per cent during the month under review when compared to 1.52 per cent in August 2017.

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained its hawkish stand, keeping its key interest rate unchanged at 6 per cent in view of rising inflationary pressures and concerns over “fiscal slippage”.

Commenting on the WPI data, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said in a statement: “When taken together with the CPI (consumer price indexed) inflation number, which has remained unchanged during the month, the data would help boost sentiments.”

“Given the moderation in both CPI and WPI inflation, the RBI should resume the rate easing cycle in its next monetary policy announcement to give a fillip to demand.”

Industry body Assocham said the September rise in WPI, as compared to the same month last year, is in line with expectations based on marginal rise in demand, increase in crude and commodity prices, as well as improved macro-economic parameters of global growth.

“Rise in WPI numbers may have corresponding upward impact on CPI, which may limit the possibility of rate cut by RBI, which has already shown concern for increase in inflation in the future,” Assocham said in a statement.

“It is clear from the recent global economic policy announcements that interest rates are going to increase in future.

“The chamber advises the policy makers to take corrective action to address the situation of rising interest rates coupled with the situation of twin balance sheet problems in India, limited capacity of private sector to invest and existing unutilised capacity of industries to produce,” it added.

Post Source: Ians feed

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