Inflation falls on cheaper manufactured goods

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Dec. 31

INFLATION fell by 0.23 per cent to a 23-week low of 6.5 per cent for the fourth consecutive week ended December 18, mainly due to cheaper food items, edibles oils and manufactured products.

The point-to-point wholesale price index (WPI) inflation fell from 6.73 per cent in the previous week, even as fuel prices remained unchanged. It was 5.92 per cent in the same period the previous year.

During the week under review, WPI declined by 0.1 per cent to 188.5 points with the indices of primary articles and manufactured products going down. It was 177 points in the same period last year.

The Government revised inflation upwards to 7.44 per cent for the week ended October 23 compared to the provisional level of 7.38 per cent, while the WPI stood corrected at 189.2 points against the provisional figure of 189.1 points.

The index of the primary articles group fell marginally by 0.1 per cent to 185.8 points due to cheaper food items. The index was 180.7 points the previous year period.

The food articles group index fell by 0.2 per cent to 185 points on account of lower prices of poultry chicken (7 per cent), vegetables and fruits, urad, arhar, masur and gram (1 per cent each), even as eggs became costlier by 2 per cent.

The index for non-food articles group rose by 0.2 per cent to 181.1 points due to higher prices of raw silk (5 per cent), raw jute (2 per cent) and raw cotton, raw tobacco, sugarcane, niger seeds and mesta (1 per cent each).

However, there was a 2-per cent decline in the prices of raw rubber and castor seed.

The Fuel, power, light and lubricants group index remained unchanged at the previous week's level of 288.8 points.

It was 258.4 points in the previous year period.

The index of heavy-weighted manufactured products group was down marginally by 0.2 per cent to 167 points owing to cheaper food products and textiles, while prices rose in the case of chemicals, non-metallic mineral products and basic metals.

The index was 157.6 points in the year-ago period.

The index of the food articles group declined by 0.3 per cent to 174.8 points due to lower prices of rice bran oil (4 per cent), oil cakes (2 per cent), rape and mustard oil and groundnut oil (1 per cent each).

However, prices rose for khandsari (2 per cent) and solvent extracted groundnut oil (1 per cent).

The Textiles group index plummeted by over 1 per cent to 134.7 points owing to lower prices of cotton yarn-cones (4 per cent), cotton yarn-hanks (3 per cent and other cotton yarns (1 per cent).

The index of chemicals and chemical products group was up by 1 per cent to 182.2 points due to a 3-per cent hike in the prices of acids and 2 per cent in caustic soda.

An 8-per cent surge in the price of bricks pushed upward the non-metallic mineral products group index by 0.4 per cent to 156.9 points.

The base metals alloys and metal products' group index rose by 0.1 per cent to 206.4 points on account of higher prices of MS bars and rounds (3 per cent) and other iron steel (2 per cent).

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 1, 2005)
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