The annual rate of inflation based on monthly wholesale price index (WPI) contracted 3.21 per cent for May, 2020 as compared to 2.79 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year. Fuel and power have the biggest contribution in bringing WPI down in May, the official data released on Monday showed. The WPI data has been released by the government after suspending it for a month. The figure stood at 1 per cent in March, the last month whose headline figure is available. "Due to limited information available for the month of April 2020, the provisional figures of May-2020 are compared with final figures of March 2020," Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) said.
The commerce ministry could not collect wholesale price data for April due to the coronavirus lockdown imposed since March 25. "This department has advised the field offices to collect price data through electronic means of the communication during the lockdown.The response rate for April 2020 has improved substantially. Final index for the month of April 2020 will be released in next month's press note in the light of the updated data received from the selected sources," it said. Food inflation eased 1.13 per cent in May from 2.55 percent in the preceding month.
Meanwhile, the National Statistical Office (NSO) has not compiled the retail inflation figure for May due to the coronavirus lockdown. This is the second month in a row as the government has not released retail inflation, calculated on the basis of the Consumer Price Index, for the month of April too. The price data are usually collected from 1,114 urban markets and 1,181 villages all over India through personal visits by field staff of Field Operations Division of NSO on a weekly roster. With the lockdown in effect during May 2020, NSO could get price data from 987 urban markets and 836 villages for commodities which were available and being transacted via officials deputed at 200 locations across the country.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) currently uses data on consumer inflation for formulating monetary policy.