Data released by the commerce and industry ministry on Thursday showed the annual rate of inflation, based on the wholesale price index (WPI), stood at 2.8% compared to 3.6% for the previous month and 4.3% during the corresponding month of the previous year. Calculated on the basis of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), the inflation was 3.58 per cent in December 2017 and 4.26 per cent in January 2017. The index for non-food articles jumped by 1.4 per cent.
While inflation in vegetables softened to 40.77% last month compared with 56.46% in December, that in onions reigned high at 193.89%. While manufacturing product witnessed growth of 2.78% in January.
The wholesale price index reflects the prices of goods bought and sold in the wholesale market. Pulses witnessed deflation at 30.43 per cent, and the same for wheat and cereals was 6.94 per cent and 1.98 per cent respectively. This, in conjunction with the strengthening of the INR, may help to counteract the impact of factors such as rising crude oil prices on the overall WPI inflation for January 2018.
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In its policy review last week, the RBI had kept key interest rates unchanged. In the fuel and power segment, wholesale inflation rose to 4.08 per cent in January, while it was 2.78 per cent for manufactured items.
Data released earlier this week showed retail inflation at 5.07%. It also raised its March quarter CPI inflation forecast to 5.1% and projected an inflation range of 5.1-5.6% in the first half of the next fiscal year. The government revised the November WPI inflation upwardly to 4% from previously announced 3.9%.