Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 11

THE wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation touched an eight-month low at 5.25 per cent for the week ended January 29, down 0.12 per cent over the previous week's 5.37 per cent. The inflation rate for the corresponding week during the previous year was 5.91 per cent.

The lower inflation for the week comes on the back of lower prices of edible oils, though fruits and vegetables were costlier.

The WPI went up by 0.1 per cent to 188.5 points due to an increase in the price of primary items such as vegetables and fruits, and manufactured products including sugar and salt. The WPI was 179.1 during the same period in the previous year. The index of the primary articles group was up by 0.2 per cent to 185 points due to rise in the prices of some food and non-food items. The index was 181.9 points in the year-ago period.

Food articles group index was marginally down by 0.1 per cent to 183.6 points due to lower prices of fish-marine (12 per cent), fish-inland (four per cent), urad and arhar (two per cent each) and eggs, masur and gram (one per cent each).

However, prices surged for poultry chicken (five per cent), vegetables (three per cent), fruits (two per cent), maize and condiments and spices (one per cent each).

The food products group index declined by 0.1 per cent to 175.5 points owing to lower prices of processed tea and rice bran oil (three per cent each), unblended black tea leaf, gingelly oil and sooji (two per cent each), rape and mustard oil, oil cakes, khandsari, imported edible oil and groundnut oil (one per cent each).

However, salt price was up by 12 per cent, bread and buns by 3 per cent, ghee, sugar, and coconut oil (one per cent each). Beverages, tobacco and tobacco products' group was up by three per cent hike mainly due to hike in the price of cigarettes.

The index for non-food articles was up nearly one per cent to 181.4 points due to higher soyabean prices (10 per cent), raw silk and niger seed (three per cent each), raw jute, gingelly seed and copra (two per cent each), mesta, hides and groundnut seed (one per cent each).

Prices declined in the case of linseed and skins (two per cent each) and castor seed, rape and mustard seed and raw rubber (one per cent each).

Fuel, power, light and lubricants' group index remained unchanged at the previous week's level of 287.9 points. The index stood at 262.3 points in the previous year period.

Manufactured products' group index rose marginally by 0.1 per cent to 167.5 points due to costlier tobacco, wood, paper, chemicals, non-metallic minerals, basic metal alloys and transport equipment while prices eased for food products, textiles and machinery. The index was 159.5 points in the previous year period.

The textiles group index fell by 0.6 per cent to 132.6 point as prices dipped for other cotton yarn (three per cent), cotton yarn-hanks and viscose staple fibre (two per cent each) and polyster yarn (one per cent).

A one per cent rise in the prices of timber planks moved up the wood and wood products group index by 0.7 per cent to 180 points.

Paper and paper products' group index was up by 0.2 per cent to 175.8 points due to one per cent rise in the prices of newsprint and map litho paper. Chemicals and chemical products' group index was up by 0.2 per cent to 183.9 points due to higher price of synthetic resins (eight per cent), rubber chemicals (seven per cent), methanol (four per cent), caustic soda (three per cent), even as resins became cheaper by one per cent.

A slight increase in cement prices pushed up the non-metallic mineral products' group index by 0.1 per cent to 156.9 points.

The index for base metals alloys and metal products' group rose by 0.7 per cent to 207.8 points due to rise in the prices of oromild steel and tensile plates, skelps and cr coils (six per cent each), cr sheets (four per cent), steel sheets, plates and strips and wire (three per cent each), ms bars and rounds and angles, channels and sections (two per cent each), and other iron steel (one per cent). However, foundry pig iron and basic pig iron became cheaper by one per cent.

Machinery and machine tools' group index was down by 0.2 per cent to 142.7 points owing to lower prices of picture tube and other electrical equipment and systems (six per cent) and enamelled copper wires (one per cent).

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 12, 2005)
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