The Wholesale Price-Indexed (WPI) inflation of the country slipped marginally to 2.47 per cent in March from 2.48 per cent reported for the previous month because of falling prices of food items, especially vegetables and pulses.
Inflation for fuel and power segment came at 4.70% in March as compared to 3.81% for the previous month.
According to the Commerce Ministry data, the WPI inflation in March 2017 was more than double at 5.11 per cent. The index for "Manufacture of Wearing Apparel" sub-group declined by 0.9 per cent to 137.8 from 139.0 for the previous month due to lower price of woven apparel, except fur apparel, and knitted and crocheted apparel (1 per cent each). "We expect the average WPI inflation to rise to around 3.9 per cent in 2018-19 from 2.9 per cent in 2017-18", Nayar said. The price of petroleum coke (11 per cent) and kerosene (2 per cent) moved up.
"We suspect that these factors will mean that we see another step-down in CPI inflation in March such that it falls to a one-year low of 2.5 per cent".
Sunil Kumar Sinha, Director, Public Finance and Principal Economist, India Ratings said: "Unlike the retail inflation which dipped by 16bp in March 2018 over the previous month, the wholesale inflation remained flat". This is different from the consumer price index-based inflation, which reflects price changes in the retail market.
Index for "Minerals" group declined by 2.0 percent to 119.7 (provisional) from 122.2 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of copper concentrate (14%) and phosphorite (1%).
Primary food articles recorded a year-on-year (YOY) disinflation after a gap of eight months in March 2018, dampened by a YoY contraction in all of the major categories (namely vegetables, cereals, pulses, eggs, meat and fish, other food articles, and condiments and spices) except for fruits and milk, she said.
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