India’s wholesale inflation rises to 2.93% in February 2019

Inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 2.93% in February over the previous month due to hardening of prices of primary articles, fuel and power, according to latest government data.

According to India’s commerce ministry’s latest release, the price of betel leaves, maize, arhar, bajra, barley, jowar, poultry chicken, moong, masur, wheat, paddy, urad, pork, ragi, egg and marine and inland fish rose.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation stood at 2.76 per cent in January, 2019. WPI inflation stood at 2.74 per cent during February 2018.

Inflation of primary articles, which includes kitchen essentials like potato, onion, fruits, and milk increased to 4.84 per cent during the month, as against 3.54 in January, the data revealed.

The WPI data further revealed that wholesale-based price inflation for ‘fuel and power’ segment increased to 2.23 per cent in February as against 1.85 per cent in January 2019.

However, the overall food articles index had dropped 0.2 per cent due to lower price of peas, tea, fruits, vegetables, mutton, gram and condiments and spices.

The ‘non-food articles’ group rose by 1 per cent from January due to a higher price of products like tanning materials, sunflower, soyabean, fodder, gingelly, niger and cotton seed as well as raw silk and raw wool. However, the prices of products like guar seed, raw cotton, raw rubber and copra had declined

The index for the crude petroleum and natural gas group rose by 1.8 per cent from the previous month due to higher price of crude petroleum and natural gas, the data stated.

The mineral oils group index rose by 3.3 per cent from the previous month due to the higher price of furnace oil, naphtha, HSD, petroleum coke, petrol and kerosene. However, the price of liquefied petroleum gas and bitumen declined, it added

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which mainly factors in retail inflation based Consumer Price Index (CPI), had cut the key lending rate by 0.25 per cent in February.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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