Cheaper edible oils keep inflation on leash

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 17

THE annual wholesale price index-based inflation rose 4.08 per cent during the week ended February 4, lower than the previous week's annual rise of 4.3 per cent.

The dip in the year-on-year inflation rate was largely on account of a fall in food and edible oil prices, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The inflation rate was at 4.96 per cent during the corresponding week of 2005. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI), which ended the latest reported week at 196.2 points, was at 188.5 points a year ago.

On a disaggregated basis, the Primary Articles' group index fell 0.7 per cent to 193.3 points due to cheaper food and non-food items. The index was 184.1 points a year ago.

The Fuel, Power, Light and Lubricants' group index rose 0.1 per cent to 311.4 points due to costlier aviation turbine fuel (3 per cent) and furnace oil (2 per cent).

The index was 289.5 points during the corresponding period a year ago. The group index for manufactured products was up 0.1 per cent to 171.5 points due to an increase in prices of food, non-metallic mineral, base metals and machinery tools.

The index was 167.5 points during the same week a year ago.

Among the Primary Articles' Group, the index for Food Articles group fell 0.8 per cent to 195.1 points due to lower prices of arhar (5 per cent), fish-inland (4 per cent), jowar (2 per cent) and bajra, fruits and vegetables, wheat, condiments and spices, gram, maize, urad and ragi (one per cent each). But moong and barley were costlier by 1 per cent.

The Non-Food Articles' group index declined by 0.6 per cent to 175.9 points due to lower prices of rape seed and mustard seed (2 per cent) and raw cotton, groundnut seed, mesta and sunflower (1 per cent each), even as castorseed prices moved up by three per cent.

Among the Manufactured Products' group, the Food Products' group index rose 0.3 per cent to 179.7 points due to higher prices of sooji and bran (3 per cent each),


, coconut oil, khandsari and


(2 per cent each) and gingelly oil and butter (1 per cent each).

The group index for Beverages Tobacco and Tobacco Products declined 0.3 per cent to 231 points due to a 7- per cent fall in the prices of spirits.

The Textiles group index fell 0.2 per cent to 129.6 points due to cheaper tyre cord fabric (3 per cent), synthetic yarn and texturised yarn (2 per cent each).

The Chemicals and Chemical Products group index fell 0.1 per cent to 188.8 due to lower prices of methanol (6 per cent), phenol (4 per cent), liquid chlorine (3 per cent) and acids (1 per cent).

However, prices of vitamin tablets were costlier by 1 per cent. Fire brick prices increased by 8 per cent and cement by 1 per cent pushing up the group index for Non-metallic Mineral Products index by 0.9 per cent to 173.1 points.

The Base Metals Alloys and Metal Products' group index rose 0.2 per cent to 210.0 points due to higher prices of zinc (14 per cent), lead ingots (7 per cent), zinc ingots (4 per cent) and other iron and steel bars and rounds (1 per cent).

The Machinery and Machine Tools' group index rose 0.1 per cent to 147.5 due to a 6-per cent rise in material handling equipment.

The Government also revised downwards the final inflation to 4.39 per cent for the week ended December 10 from the provisional figure of 4.5 per cent while WPI stood corrected at 197.2 from the provisional figure of 197.4 points.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 18, 2006)
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