WPI inflation falls to 2.47% in March on cheaper food prices

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The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) eased gradually to 2.47% in month of March 2018 compared to growth rate of 2.48% in February 2018 and 3.02% in January 2018.

"Moreover, while average petrol prices at the pumps dropped 1.4 per cent between February and March this year, that was only a touch bigger than the 0.8 per cent drop seen between the same months in 2017".

However, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the consumer price index (CPI) last month stood higher than the 3.89 percent reported in March 2017.

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On April 12, the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that lower food prices eased March retail inflation to 4.28 percent from 4.44 percent in February 2018.

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. Similarly, the index for "Non-Food Articles" group declined by 0.3 percent to 120.2 due to lower price of guar seed, floriculture, raw cotton, cottonseed, mustard seed, among others.

Prices of the other major group under the WPI, manufactured products, which comprise almost 64.23 per cent of the index, recorded a 3.03 per cent rise. However, the price of petroleum coke and kerosene moved up. This is different from the consumer price index-based inflation, which reflects price changes in the retail market. 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.

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For 2018, the economists decreased the median inflation estimate for the eleventh consecutive week, to 3.48%, from 3.53% in the previous survey. The movement in core inflation at the retail and wholesale level were in the opposite direction in March 2018.

Inflation based on wholesale prices slipped marginally to 2.47 per cent in March on falling prices of food items, especially vegetables and pulses. "Inflation in the food article category which has been declining since November 2017 turned into deflation in March 2018 mainly driven by the sharp correction in the prices of fruits and vegetable". Find us on Facebook too!

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