Food inflation creeps up after two weeks of decline

May 13th, 2010 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Pranab Mukherjee New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) India’s annual food inflation rose 16.44 percent for the week ended May 1, reversing two consecutive weeks of decline, official data released Thursday showed.

The food inflation stood at 16.04 percent the previous week having declined from 16.61 percent during the week-ended April 17 against 17.65 percent of week-ended April 10.

Data on the wholesale price index (WPI) released by the commerce and industry ministry showed the index for food articles rose by 0.6 percent during the week under review.

The primary articles index was up 16.76 percent, compared to a rise of 13.93 percent during the previous week. Fuel prices rose 12.33 percent during the week ended May 1, against 12.69 percent during the last week.

Following are the rise and fall in prices of some essential food items over the 52-week period:

- Pulses: 32.49 percent

- Milk: 21.12 percent

- Fruits: 15.51 percent

- Rice: 8.01 percent

- Cereals: 7.46 percent

- Wheat: 7.19 percent

- Potatoes: (-)31.37 percent

- Onions : (-) 23.33 percent

The fresh data came a day after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that high inflation was on the decline and he expected food prices to ease further.

“The CPI (consumer price index) inflation is high because of the high prices of food items. But I expect it to decline as the prices of food items are going down,” Mukherjee said.

He said prospects of sufficient rains this year will help bring down prices. The weather department expects the June-September rains to be 98 percent in this year’s monsoon season, which it said is normal.

Food prices have stayed above 15 percent since November after last year’s monsoon rains were the weakest in more than three decades, hurting rice, wheat and sugar output.

The benchmark inflation rate rose to 9.9 percent in March, a 17-month high. The commerce ministry will unveil April’s inflation data Friday.

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