You've probably noticed that your wallet has been a lot happier of late. Inflation based on wholesale prices eased to an eight-month low of 2.47 per cent in March on cheaper food articles, including pulses, vegetables and eggs. On the basis of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), inflation has steadily softened from 2.84 per cent in January to 2.47 per cent the following month.
According to the data that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry released today, food articles showed deflation at 0.29 per cent in March as against a slight 0.88 per cent inflation in the preceding month.
Deflation in vegetables stood at 2.70 per cent, pulses at 20.58 per cent and wheat at 1.19 per cent last month. Inflation in the fuel and power basket, however, rose to 4.70 per cent in March from 3.81 per cent in February. The data for February had, in fact, shown a marginal softening in this basket.
"The official Wholesale Price Index (WPI) for 'All Commodities' for the month of March, 2018 rose by 0.2 per cent to 116.0 (provisional) from 115.8 (provisional) for the previous month," said the notification.
The index for 'food articles' group declined by 0.4 per cent to 137.2 from 137.8 for the previous month, despite a price rise in items like ragi, jowar, peas/chawali, moong and paddy, among others. 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. However, the price of raw silk, mesta and hides, sunflower, soyabean, fodder, raw wool, coir fibre and raw rubber all moved up.
The index for fuel and power declined by 0.1 per cent to 98 (provisional) from 98.1 (provisional) in February. The price of petroleum coke (11 per cent) and kerosene (2 per cent) moved up. The index for electricity group rose by 2.9 per cent to 105.4 (provisional) from 102.4 (provisional) due to higher price of electricity (3 per cent).
The inflation data for January was revised upwards to 3.02 per cent from the provisional estimate of 2.84 per cent. Retail inflation also slipped to a five-month low of 4.28 per cent in March on account of decline in food prices.
To remind you, in its first monetary policy review for the fiscal, the Reserve Bank 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 agency inputs