India’s inflation at 45-week high of 8.24 percent

June 6th, 2008 - 2:59 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of P. Chidambaram

New Delhi, June 6 (IANS) India’s annual rate of inflation continued its upward climb and stood at its steepest level since August 2004 at 8.24 percent for the week ended May 27, against 8.1 percent for the previous week. Since the data on wholesale price index released Friday pertained to the week ended May 27, the inflation rate does not reflect the steep hike in prices of transport and cooking fuel announced Wednesday. This is expected to add around 100 basis points to the inflation rate.

The price of petrol were raised by Rs.5 a litre, of diesel by Rs.3 a litre and of cooking gas cylinder by Rs.50 per cylinder to help ease the financial burden on state-run retailers selling these commodities at below cost.

The official data on prices released by the commerce ministry showed that the main cause for the higher inflation rate during the week under review was food articles - notably edible oils, which became dearer by six percent. Non-food articles were dearer by 0.5 percent.

Compared to the week under review, India’s annual inflation rate was higher for the week ended Aug 28, 2004, when it stood at 7.84 percent. The rate - now at a 45-week high - was 5.15 percent for the corresponding week of 2007.

The data further showed that the inflation rate for the week ended March 29 was actually 7.75 percent, based on final statistics, and not 7.41 percent as reported earlier based on provisional figures.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, who has been under pressure to tame inflation along with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Y.V. Reddy, said the recent rise was on account of the relentless rise in global commodity prices, notably crude oil, hovering around $128 per barrel.

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