Food inflation falls to 9.01 percent; will moderate further: Pranab


New Delhi: With food inflation coming down to a single digit for the first time in five weeks at 9.01 percent for the week ended Nov 12, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Thursday the price rise was likely to ease further in the coming weeks on the back of a good monsoon and improved supplies.

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“I hope there will be moderation in the inflation and it will have its impact on the year-end inflation,” Mukherjee told reporters here while reacting on the weekly inflation data.

According to the official data released Thursday, food inflation slipped to 9.01 percent for the week ended Nov 12, the lowest in nine weeks, and substantially down from the previous week’s 10.63 percent.

Food inflation had shot up to double digits during the week ended Oct 8 and persisted at these levels as the festive season approached, pushing demand higher. It was recorded at 10.63 percent in the previous week.

For the week under review, prices of vegetables, fruits and milk showed a decline but eggs and poultry continued to cost more, according to data made available by the commerce and industry ministry.

The primary articles index, which has a 20.12 percent weight in the wholesale price index, also rose at a slower 9.08 percent as compared to 10.39 percent in the previous week.

The index of fuel and power was steady at 15.49 percent, while the index for non-food articles declined to 4.05 percent from 5.33 percent earlier.

After it had hiked rates in October, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would hold off another increase if inflation showed signs of declining. RBI Governor D. Subbarao said in a speech in Hyderabad this week that he would not hesitate to tighten rates further if inflation did not come down as expected.

Overall inflation too has remained stubbornly high, near double digits, since January 2010. Headline inflation based on the wholesale price index was recorded at 9.73 percent in October, according to the latest official data.

The following are the yearly rise and fall in prices under review of some main commodities that form the sub-index for food articles:

Onions: (-) 32.85 percent

Vegetables: 17.66 percent

Fruits: 4.59 percent

Potatoes: (-) 7.23 percent

Eggs, meat, fish: 11.98 percent

Cereals: 2.86 percent

Rice: 2.75 percent

Wheat: (-) 3.09 percent

Pulses: 14.28 percent