Food inflation falls to 8 percent; to drop further: Pranab

New Delhi : India’s food inflation fell sharply to 8 percent for the week ended Nov 19 as compared to 9.01 percent in the previous week – as onions, potatoes and wheat became cheaper and the rise in the prices of other items moderated on the back of a good monsoon, official data showed Thursday.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said food inflation would decline to 6-7 percent by the end of the current financial year.

“If this trend continues, perhaps we may have year-end inflation at 6-7 percent,” Mukherjee told reporters here while reacting on the weekly figures.

Food inflation has dropped sharply in the last three weeks. It had come down in single digit for the week ended Nov 12 from 10.63 percent in the previous week.

“After the month of August, for the first time it (food inflation) has come down to 8 percent,” Mukherjee said.

The finance minister said non-food inflation was also steadily declining. “For the week ended Oct 29, it was 6 percent and now (its has) declined to 2.14 percent,” he said.

Onion became cheaper by 40.65 percent during the week under review, while price of potatoes declined by 10.98 percent, wheat became cheaper by 4.71 percent year-on-year, according to data released by the commerce and industry ministry.

The rise in prices of other vegetables also moderated at 5.13 percent for the week ended Nov 19. Vegetable prices had risen by 17.66 percent year-on-year in the previous week.

The primary articles index, which has a 20.12 percent weightage in the wholesale price index, also dropped sharply to 7.74 percent for the week under review as compared to 9.08 percent in the previous week and 10.39 percent for the week ended Nov 5.

However, the fuel and power index rose marginally to 15.53 percent as compared to 15.49 percent in the previous week.

The headline inflation based on the wholesale price index was recorded at 9.73 percent in October, according to the latest official data.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has hiked key policy rates 13 times since the beginning of 2010 to control the price rise. The recent decline in inflationary pressure may give some comfort to the economic policymakers who have been struggling to control the price rise for the last two years, without much success.

The following are the yearly rise and fall in prices in the week under review of some main commodities that form the sub-index for food articles:

Onions: (-) 40.65 percent

Vegetables: 5.13 percent

Fruits: 7.98 percent

Potatoes: (-) 10.98 percent

Eggs, meat, fish: 13.55 percent

Cereals: 2.86 percent

Rice: 1.97 percent

Wheat: (-) 4.71 percent

Pulses: 13.80 percent

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