India’s food inflation falls even as index moves up a tad


New Delhi : India’s annual food inflation fell marginally once again to 16.22 percent for the week ended March 13 from 16.3 percent for the week before even as prices of lentils, fruits and vegetables moved up over the past week.

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According to data on wholesale price index released by the commerce and industry ministry Thursday, the index for food articles rose 0.1 percent during the week under review, while that for non-food articles fell 0.2 percent.

Yet, taking into account the year as a whole, the prices of most essential items were ruling sharply higher than the levels seen last year though onions became cheaper.

Following are the increases in prices of some essential food items over the 52-week period:

– Pulses: 31.68 percent

– Potatoes: 5.62 percent

– Vegetables: 5.12 percent

– Milk: 15.31 percent

– Wheat: 15.09 percent

– Cereals: 10.64 percent

– Onions: (-)6.64 percent

– Fruits: 11.06 percent

– Rice: 7.42 percent

The central bank has already initiated measures to tighten its monetary policy by hiking key rates in a bid to suck out excess liquidity from the system and tame inflationary expectations.

“Inflation pressure is stronger than we anticipated. Between November 2009 and February 2010, in a space of four months, the wholesale price inflation has gone from 5.6 percent to 9.9 percent,” Reserve Bank of India Governor D. Subbarao said Tuesday.

“We have constantly maintained about the need for exiting from the expansionary monetary policy. We have also been saying all along that we need to exit in India ahead of other countries because of the growth-inflation trade-off we are facing.”