Snapping the downward trend of two consecutive weeks, food inflation inched up marginally to 15.57 per cent for the period ended January 15, on account of escalating vegetable prices, particularly, onions.
Food inflation for the week ended January 8, was recorded at 15.52 per cent. The uptick in latest food inflation figure is likely to put further pressure on the government grappling with expensive food commodities and a slowing industrial growth that dipped to the 18-month low of 2.7 per cent for November.
The government has already adopted measures like export ban on onions to make the kitchen staple more affordable to masses. Further, the RBI in its third quarter monetary policy review on Tuesday hiked key policy rates by 25 basis points to scotch the inflationary pressures.
During the week under review, vegetable prices soared by 67.07 per cent on an annual basis. Onions went up by a huge 111.58 per cent year-on-year, thus, showing that government initiatives like export ban were not proving sufficiently effective.
On an annual basis, prices of fruits went up by 16.40 per cent while milk became expensive by 12.44 per cent. Prices of egg, meat and fish went up by 13.58 per cent year-on-year.
Cereal prices, too, went up marginally by 0.53 per cent, with rice going up by 2.79 per cent. However, wheat and pulses became cheaper on annual basis by 5.75 per cent and 14.07 per cent, respectively.
In indication that spike in food commodities was becoming ingrained into the wider economy, in the non-food category, the prices of fibres and minerals were up by 47.23 per cent and 19.52 per cent, respectively.
Fuel and power also became dearer by 10.87 per cent year-on-year. The headline inflation in December had risen to 8.43 per cent, up from 7.48 per cent in the previous month, mainly driven by costly food items.
At its quarterly review earlier this week, the RBI had revised its headline inflation estimate to 7 per cent by end of March, up from the earlier estimate of 5.5 per cent.