Wholesale price inflation slows down to 2.47% in March

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You've probably noticed that your wallet has been a lot happier of late.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation came in at 2.47 per cent for March 2018, below market expectations.

Primary articles, which accounts for more than a fifth of the entire wholesale price index, grew 0.24 percent in March from 3.33 percent year a percent ago and 0.79 percent in February. The reduction in pulse prices was pegged at 20.58%, in vegetables at 2.70%, wheat at 1.19 % and egg, meat and fish at 0.82% in March.

The official WPI for "All Commodities" (Base: 2011-12=100) for the month of March, 2018 rose by 0.2 percent to 116.0 (provisional) from 115.8 (provisional) for the previous month. The data for February had, in fact, shown a marginal softening in this basket.

Food and beverage prices were 0.9 per cent up, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and housing has increased by 4.6 per cent and transportation costs were 0.7 per cent higher compared to a year earlier.

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That compares to the Reserve Bank's quarterly projection of 0.6 per cent for an annual rise of 1.1 per cent. However, the price of raw silk (7%), mesta and hides (raw) (5% each), sunflower (4%), soyabean (3%), fodder (2%) and raw wool, coir fibre and raw rubber (1% each) moved up.

Going ahead, the fuel & power which bags 13.15% of total WPI, declined by 0.1% to 98.0 (provisional) from 98.1 (provisional) for the previous month. The price of petroleum coke (11 per cent) and kerosene (2 per cent) moved up.

Inflation in onion continued to stay high at 42.22 per cent and in potato at 43.25 per cent. However, the March 2018 inflation is higher than 3.89 per cent recorded in the same month previous year.

"Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 2.47 per cent compared to a build up rate of 5.11 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year".

Two of the nine Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) members already voted to hike rates to 0.75 per cent last month, marking the first split vote since last November when rates were raised from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

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