After 11-week steady fall, inflation up again (Lead)

January 22nd, 2009 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) After 11 weeks of decline, India’s annual rate of inflation rose marginally to 5.6 percent for the week ended Jan 10, from 5.24 percent the week before, official data released here Thursday showed.The inflation rate was 4.36 percent during the corresponding week the previous year.

Going by provisional figures, the wholesale price index (WPI) for all commodities rose 0.4 percent to 230 from 229 the week before.

The index for primary articles rose 1.2 percent to 249.3 from 246.3, while that for manufactured products rose 0.2 percent to 201.1 from 200.6 the previous week.

The index for fuel, power, light and lubricants, however, remained unchanged at its previous week’s level of 329.8.

The finance ministry acknowledged that the “increase in the inflation rate has temporarily reversed the 11-week declining trend which had set in since the last week of October 2008″, and said this was “largely attributable to the impact of the oil and transport sector strikes”.

Economists said the marginal rise was of little consequence and also attributed it to the strike called by transporters and oil sector officials earlier this month.

“The inflation will now stay between 4.5 percent and 7 percent till the middle of this year, and fall below 4.5 percent only when we have good rains and harvest,” said Shriram Khanna, head of the commerce department in the Delhi School of Economics.

But Dalip Kumar, the head of projects at the National Council of Applied Economics Research (NCAER), an economic research institution, said the rate of inflation would moderate to below 5 percent by next month and will be close to 2 percent by March 2009.

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