Inflation rises on surge in mineral prices

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Wholesale Price Index up by 0.3 per cent to 197.1 points

Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 3

The annual wholesale price index-based inflation rose 4.34 per cent during the week ended February 18, up from the previous week's annual rise of 4.02 per cent. The increase in the year-on-year inflation rate was largely on account of a surge in prices of iron ore, essential non-food, industrial fuel and manufactured items, according to data released by the Government on Friday.

During the latest reported week, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) was up 0.3 per cent to 197.1 points. It was at 188.9 points a year ago. The inflation rate was higher at 4.89 per cent during the corresponding period last year. On a disaggregated basis, the Primary Articles group index rose 0.5 per cent to 195.2 points due to costlier non-food items while food items became cheaper. The index was 184.4 points a year ago.

Bitumen up

The Fuel, Power, Light and Lubricants group index was up by 0.1 per cent to 311.9 points due to rise in prices of furnace oil and bitumen. The index was 289.7 points in the year ago period. The Manufactured Products group index rose by 0.2 per cent to 172.1 points due to costlier food, beverages tobacco, textiles, chemicals, non-metallic mineral and base metals. The index was 168 points a year ago.

Among the Primary Articles' group, the Food Articles group fell 0.2 per cent to 196.5 points due to lower prices of eggs (4 per cent), vegetables and bajra (3 per cent), fruits and jowar (2 per cent each) and barley, condiments and spices (1 per cent each). But prices rose for poultry chicken and fish (10 per cent), urad (3 per cent), arhar, moong and gram (2 per cent each).

Soyabean dearer

The Non-Food Articles group was up by 1 per cent to 176.7 points owing to increase in prices of soyabean (15 per cent), groundnut seed, raw tobacco and sunflower (2 per cent each) and castor seed (1 per cent); but copra, rape and mustard seed became cheaper by 2 per cent. The index for Minerals group shot up by 9.2 per cent to 389.5 points due to higher prices of silica sand (50 per cent), felspar (20 per cent) and iron ore (11 per cent). However, prices declined for magnesite (4 per cent) and fire clay and fluorite (1 per cent each).

Among the Manufactured Products' group, the Food Products group index was up by 0.7 per cent to 181.9 points owing to rise in prices of rice bran oil (5 per cent), sugar and imported edible oil (2 per cent each) .

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 4, 2006)
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