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India's WPI inflation for apparel drops 0.9% in March

17 April 2018

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For 2018, the economists decreased the median inflation estimate for the eleventh consecutive week, to 3.48%, from 3.53% in the previous survey.

The build up in inflation rate in the financial year so far was 2.47% compared to a build up rate of 5.11% in the corresponding period of the previous year.

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It may be recalled that WPI inflation was at 5.11 per cent in March previous year.

Despite keeping rates on hold, the committee said that "ongoing tightening of monetary policy" would be needed to bring inflation back to the Bank's 2 per cent target.

Food and beverage prices were 0.9 per cent up, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and housing has increased by 4.6 per cent and transportation costs were 0.7 per cent higher compared to a year earlier. The retail inflation slowed down mainly on account of easing food prices including vegetables. Under this, index for "Food Articles" group declined by 0.4 percent to 137.2 (provisional) from 137.8 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of egg (5%), gram, tea, coffee, poultry chicken and condiments & spices (3% each), rajma (2%) and fish-inland, masur, bajra, fruits & vegetables and beef and buffalo meat (1% each).

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According to the data that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry released today, food articles showed deflation at 0.29 per cent in March as against a slight 0.88 per cent inflation in the preceding month. The movement in core inflation at the retail and wholesale level were in the opposite direction in March 2018.

The inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key data factored in by the RBI to arrive at interest rate, was 4.44 per cent in February.

Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA said: "A downturn in food and mineral prices helped to offset the unfavourable base effect and keep the wholesale inflation steady at 2.5 per cent in March 2018".

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India's WPI inflation for apparel drops 0.9% in March