Our Bureau

New Delhi, Jan. 20

THE annual wholesale price index-based inflation fell to a 31-week low of 5.6 per cent for the week ended January 8, from 5.78 per cent recorded during the previous week. The fall recorded in the point-to-point inflation rate was largely on account of a drop in prices of some food articles, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry today.

According to the data, the WPI stood unchanged at the previous week's level of 188.6 points but was higher than 178.6 a year ago. The primary articles' group index dipped by 0.1 per cent to 185.9 points as food articles turned cheaper, while non-food articles prices were up by 0.3 per cent.

The fuel, power, light and lubricants group index was up by 0.2 per cent to 288.1 due to a hike in electricity prices by 1 per cent, though aviation turbine fuel (ATF) turned cheaper by 21 per cent. The manufactured products group index rose by 0.1 per cent to 167.4 due to costlier food products, paper and machinery.

Among the primary articles' group, the food articles group index declined to 184.4 due to cheaper fish-marine (8 per cent), tea (4 per cent), fish-inland, masur, condiments and spices (2 per cent each), jowar and urad (1 per cent each). However, prices rose for ragi (4 per cent), poultry chicken (3 per cent), vegetables, mutton, moong and rice (1 per cent each). The Non-food Articles group index grew to 182.2 owing to higher prices of sunflower (12 per cent), niger seed (2 per cent), raw silk and raw jute (1 per cent each). But prices of castor seed, soyabean, hides and cottonseed fell by 1 per cent.

Among the manufactured products group, the food products group index rose by 1.1 per cent to 177.1 due to higher prices of khandsari and sugar (4 per cent), solvent extracted groundnut oil and bran (2 per cent each), gur and unrefined oil (1 per cent each). However, prices fell for sooji (2 per cent) and groundnut oil (1 per cent).

The textiles group index dipped by 0.4 per cent due to a fall in prices of cotton yarn hanks, cotton yarn-cones, hessian cloth and nylon filament yarn (by one per cent in each case). Newsprint prices were up by 1 per cent, propping up the group index for paper and paper products by 0.1 per cent. The chemicals and chemicals products group index fell by 0.3 per cent to 183.5 due to a fall in the prices of benzene (19 per cent), phenol (9 per cent), epoxy resins (6 per cent), liquid chlorine (3 per cent) and synthetic rubber (1 per cent). Cement prices fell by 1 per cent pushing down the non-metallic mineral product group index by 0.3 per cent to 156.4 during the week.

The base metals, alloys and metal products group index fell marginally to 206.4 due to lower prices of ms bars and rounds (3 per cent), other iron steel, basic pig iron and foundary pig iron (1 per cent each). However, prices of aluminium ingots and other materials moved up by 1 per cent. The Machinery and Machine Tools group index was up by 0.1 per cent to 142.4 due to higher prices of cables (3 per cent), PVC insulated cables, enamelled copper wires and rubber-insulated cables (1 per cent each).

The Government also revised upward the WPI figure to 190.6 during the week ended November 13, while correcting the inflation to 7.68 per cent as against the provisional figure of 7.34.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 21, 2005)
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