Wholesale price index at 196.8 points

Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 17

The annual wholesale price index-based inflation rose 4.02 per cent during the week ended March 4; lower than the previous week's annual rise of 4.29 per cent.

The dip in the year-on-year inflation rate was largely due to a fall in food and textile product prices, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry here.

The wholesale price index (WPI) ended the latest reported week at 196.8 points, against 189.2 points during the corresponding week a year ago.

The inflation rate was 5.46 per cent during the corresponding week of 2005. On a disaggregated basis, the primary articles' group index declined 0.5 per cent to 193.5 points due to cheaper food and non-food products.

The index was 184.1 points in the year ago period.

The fuel, power, light and lubricants group index rose marginally to 312 points due to one per cent increase in prices of furnace oil. The index was 231.6 points a year ago. The manufactured products group index remained unchanged at the previous week's level of 172.2 points, despite costlier beverages, tobacco, paper, basic metals and machine tools. The index was 168.7 points in the year ago period. In case of the primary articles' group, the index for food articles fell 0.5 per cent to 194.6 points due to cheaper poultry chicken (9 per cent), eggs (8 per cent), barley, fruits and vegetables (2 per cent each) and masur, fish-inland and maize (1 per cent each). The non-food articles group index was down 0.6 per cent to 175.4 points due to fall in prices of soyabean (13 per cent), rape and mustard seed and copra (1 per cent each).

In case of the manufactured products' group, the food products group index declined 0.1 per cent to 180.8 points due to lower prices of bran (7 per cent), gur, atta and butter (1 per cent each). However, prices moved up for sooji (6 per cent), rice bran oil and imported edible oil (2 per cent each) and maida and groundnut oil (1 per cent each).

The textiles group index declined 0.3 per cent to 130.1 points due to cheaper texturised yarn and viscose staple fibre (3 per cent each) and polyster yarn and hessian cloth (1 per cent each). A one per cent increase in prices of newsprint and cream laid woven paper pushed up the paper and paper products group index by 0.2 per cent to 178.6 points. An eight per cent fall in prices of resins led to 0.1 per cent decline in chemicals and chemical products group index to 189.1 points. The index for basic metals alloys and metal products group index was up 0.1 per cent. The machinery and machine tools group index rose by 0.1 per cent to 147.2 points due to 5 per cent increase in batteries prices.

The Government lowered the final inflation rate for the week ended January 7 to 3.86 per cent on year from a provisional 4.24 per cent, according to the data.

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