WPI inflation eases to 2.48% in February; food, fuel prices rise marginally

A fruit seller talks on his phone in a wholesale market in Guwahati

A fruit seller talks on his phone in a wholesale market in Guwahati

Data released by the commerce and industry ministry on Wednesday showed inflation, as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI), rose an annual 2.5%, slower than the previous month's 2.8% and lower than 5.5% in the year earlier period.

The wholesale inflation was at 2.84% in the preceding month and 5.51% in the February 2017. Onion prices remained stubborn, increasing almost 80% in February but lower than 127% in the previous month.

As a whole, primary articles, which account for more than a fifth of the WPI, grew 0.79 per cent in February, down from 4.01 per cent a year ago and 2.37 per cent in January 2018. However, LPG rose lower at 8.5 per cent.

"An unfavourable base effect for crude petroleum and natural gas, and fuel and power is likely to push up the WPI inflation in March".

Likewise, the index for "Manufacture of Textiles" sub-group rose by 0.6 per cent to 113.7 from 113.0 for the previous month due to higher price of weaving & finishing of textiles, cotton yarn, synthetic yarn and manufacture of made-up textile articles, except apparel (1 per cent each). However, the price of manufacture of other textiles (one per cent) declined.

The drop in inflation was primarily led by an insignificant rise in food and fuel prices.

The data also showed that the rate of price rise in manufactured items was higher compared to January.

However, the price of cylinder liners (2 per cent) and wheels/wheels and parts, chassis of different vehicle types, silencer and damper and shafts of all kinds (one per cent each) declined.

Annual growth in food article prices eased notably to 0.88 percent from 3.0 percent in January.