Inflation dips on cheaper manufactured items

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Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 4

THE annual wholesale price index-based inflation fell to a nine-month low of 4.83 per cent during the week ended February 19, from 5.01 per cent registered during the previous week.

The fall in the year-on-year inflation was largely on account of cheaper edible oils, vegetables and a fall in prices of some of the manufactured products, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry here today.

The WPI, however, remained unchanged at 188.8 points despite costlier primary items and cheaper manufactured products, even as fuel prices stood firm for the second consecutive week.

The index of Primary Articles' group was up by 0.2 per cent to 185.8 points due to rise in the prices of both food and non-food articles. The index for Fuel, Power, Light and Lubricants group remained unchanged for the second consecutive week at the previous week's level of 288.9 points. The heavy-weighted Manufactured Products' group declined by 0.1 per cent to 167.5 points due to fall in textile, rubber basic metals, machinery prices, while chemicals, non-metallic mineral and transport equipments turned costlier.

Among the Primary Articles' group, the Food Articles' group index rose by 0.2 per cent to 185.2 points due to higher prices of coffee (22 per cent), fish-marine (three per cent), bajra (two per cent) and tea, fruits, condiments and spices, jowar, moong and urad (one per cent each). Vegetables, however, turned cheaper by 0.6 per cent.

The Non-Food Articles' group index was up by 0.4 per cent to 180.6 points due to higher prices of soyabean (five per cent), raw silk (three per cent), gingelly seed and raw jute (two per cent), sunflower and linseed (one per cent each).

Prices, however, dipped in case of safflower (four per cent), castorseed and fodder (two per cent) and nigerseed and cotton seed (one per cent each).

Among the Manufactured Products' group, the Food Products' group index stood firm at the previous week's level of 174.7 points even as prices rose for khandsari (four per cent), sunflower oil (one per cent), coffee powder (one per cent) and prices fell for gur, rape and mustard oil, groundnut oil (one per cent each). Textiles' group index declined by 0.2 per cent to 131 points owing to cheaper texturised yarn (three per cent), other cotton yarn and hessian cloth (one per cent each), but hessain and sacking bags became costlier by one per cent.

A whopping 10 per cent fall in the prices of PVC fitting and accessories pushed down the Rubber and Plastic Products' group index by 0.2 per cent to 133.5 points.

The Chemicals and Chemical Products' group index rose by 0.1 per cent to 184.5 points due to higher prices of methanol (eight per cent), purified terephthalic acid (four per cent), caustic soda (three per cent) and phenol (one per cent). However, epoxy resins became cheaper by nine per cent and PVC resins by one per cent.

A 19 per cent spurt in the prices of fire bricks pushed up the Non-Metallic Mineral Products' group index by 0.8 per cent to 159.2 points.

The Basic Metals Alloys and Metal Products' group index fell by 0.1 per cent to 207.7 points due to cheaper basic pig iron and foundry pig iron (four per cent each) and other iron steel (one per cent).

Prices, however, moved up for LPG cylinder and brass sheets and strips (five per cent each) and steel sheets, plates & strips and pipes & tubes (one per cent each).

The Machinery and Machine Tools' group index declined by 0.3 per cent to 143.2 points due to lower prices of electronic IC's (10 per cent) and switch gears (three per cent).

The index for Transport Equipment and Parts group was up by 0.1 per cent to 157.7 points owing to higher prices of motorcycles (two per cent) and autorickshaws (one per cent).

The Government also revised upwards the inflation to 6.56 per cent during the week ended December 25 last as compared to the provisional level of 6.39 per cent.

The final WPI during December-end stood corrected at 188.5 points as against the provisional level of 188.2 points.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 5, 2005)
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