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Inflation static despite costlier vegetables, fruits

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, Feb. 25

THE annual wholesale price index-based inflation remained unchanged at the previous week's level of 5.01 per cent for the week ended February 12, even as vegetables and fruits turned costlier.

A fall in prices of edible oils, minerals and some of the non-food products, largely, negated the rise in the prices of food items, according to data released on Friday by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

The WPI, however, rose by 0.1 per cent to 188.8 points.

The primary articles' group rose by 0.3 per cent to 185.4 points due to costlier food items, even as non-food items and minerals turned cheaper. The fuel, power, light and lubricants group index stood unchanged at the previous week's level of 288.9 points, while the heavy-weight manufactured products' group index rose by 0.1 per cent to 167.6 points owing to costlier food products, paper, leather, rubber, chemicals, non-metallic mineral, base metals, machinery and transport equipment.

Among the primary articles' group, the food articles' group index was up by 0.6 per cent to 184.9 points owing to higher prices of fruits and vegetables (three per cent), ragi (two per cent), maize and jowar (one per cent each). The index for non-food articles' group fell by 0.3 per cent to 179.9 points due to lower prices of castor seed (six per cent), raw rubber (two per cent), rape and mustard seed, gingelly seed and groundnut seed (one per cent each).

But prices went up for raw silk and fodder (eight per cent each), mesta (six per cent) and raw jute (one per cent).

The minerals group index went down by 1.1 per cent to 271.9 points due to cheaper bauxite (18 per cent), magnesite (16 per cent), magnesite ore (nine per cent), fire clay (four per cent) and iron ore (one per cent).

Among the manufactured products' group, the food products' group index rose by 0.1 per cent to 174.7 points due to higher prices of blended tea leaf green (17 per cent), butter and cakes and sweet rolls (one per cent each).

However, prices declined for processed tea (five per cent), khandsari and cottonseed oil (three per cent each), groundnut oil and coconut oil (two per cent each).

The index for textiles' group fell by 0.5 per cent to 131.3 points due to lower prices of long cloth/sheeting (10 per cent), other cotton yarn (four per cent), synthetic yarn (two per cent), and polyster staple fibre, cotton grey cloth and canvas and dhoties, sarees and voils (one per cent each).

A one per cent hike in the prices of kraft paper pushed up the paper and paper products' group index by 0.1 per cent to 176 points.

The WPI stood corrected at 188.4 points during the third week of December as against the provisional estimate of 188.5 points.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 26, 2005)
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