Falling global crude oil prices and cheaper food articles helped bring the Wholesale Price Index-based inflation for September down to a five-year low of 2.38 per cent.
The latest WPI print — the lowest since October 2009 — is much lower than the 3.74 per cent recorded in August.
Although WPI is no longer the main monetary policy anchor, the sharp fall has definitely signalled a momentum change in inflation, say economy watchers.
Food prices fell to a 33-month low of 3.52 per cent (5.15 per cent in August). Fuel and power inflation came in at 1.33 per cent ( 4.54 per cent), and manufactured products inflation at 2.84 per cent (3.45 per cent).
Meanwhile, the July WPI print has been revised upwards to 5.41 per cent from 5.19 per cent.
The good news on the wholesale inflation front came a day after Consumer Price Index-based inflation fell to an all-time low of 6.46 per cent, the lowest since India started computing CPI inflation, in January 2012.
Finance Minister upbeat In a statement, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said: “We are committed to continuing reforms in food markets, which will improve supply responses and keep inflation low and stable. At the same time, fiscal consolidation and a new monetary policy framework will help bring down inflationary expectations. We are confident that soon we will be achieving a low and stable inflation rate.” Some economists, however, do not foresee any immediate cut in interests rates. It would be better to wait for a couple of months to check the sustainability of the current momentum change, they said.
FICCI Secretary-General Didar Singh said it is comforting to note the decline in CPI and WPI inflation rates. The decline, he said, is getting broad-based and indicates that inflationary pressures are waning.
“With these inflation numbers, we hope growth considerations will be brought to the forefront and the interest regime softens.”
Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General, CII, hoped the drop in inflation would help dampen inflationary expectations in the future and signal the onset of a low inflation cycle.
This would provide space for the RBI to review its cautious stance on interest rates, he said.
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