India’s annual rate of inflation, based on wholesale prices, inched up to (-)3.81 percent for October from (-)4.54 percent for the month before, mainly on account of a whopping 86 percent spike in the prices of onions and 53 percent in pulses over the past year.
The annual inflation rate, based on the official wholesale price index (WPI), was ruling at 1.66 percent in October, last year.
The firmness in the annual rate of inflation was attributed to rising prices of onions, pulses, wheat and vegetable prices which have continued to hit household budgets.
On a month-on-month basis, the annual rate of inflation has been in the negative territory since November last year.
The data furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, revealed a revised rate of the headline inflation for August. The WPI inflation was revised lower to (-)5.06 percent from (-)4.95 percent which was reported on September 14, this year.
For the last six months, the revised WPI data has been (-)0.95 percent in January, (-)2.06 percent in February to (-)2.33 percent in March to (-)2.43 percent in April, (-)2.20 percent in May, (-)2.13 percent in June, (-)4.00 percent in July and (-) 5.06 percent in August.
The data revealed that among the three major sub-indices of the WPI, the inflation rate for primary articles and manufactured products declined by 0.36 percent and 1.67 percent, respectively, during the month under review.
The index for fuels and power, meanwhile, plunged by 16.32 percent.
However, food inflation in the month under review was higher by 2.44 percent from 0.69 percent recorded in September and 2.74 percent in the corresponding month of last year.
During the month under review, some commodities of mass consumption continued to upset household budgets and notable among them was onion, whose price was higher by as much as 86 percent over the like month of the previous year. Pulses were dearer by 53 percent.
In the past month alone, prices for urad dal rose 17 percent, arhar 12 percent, gram 7 percent and moong 6 percent.
Other food items such as wheat and vegetables recorded modest price increases on a year-on-year (YoY) basis. Wheat was costly by 4.68 percent, while vegetable prices rose by 2.56 percent.
The wholesale inflation data comes on the back of retail inflation for September, based on the consumer price index (CPI) which increased to 5.00 percent — from 4.41 percent recorded for the previous month.
Even under the manufactured products category, prices of commodities pertaining to food fell — especially sugar that was lower by 14.54 percent, followed by food products which were down to 0.23 percent on YoY basis.
Notwithstanding the downward price trend, edible oil prices grew by 4.58 percent YoY.
Under fuels — the index for which was down 16.32 percent — petrol was cheaper by 13.16 percent and diesel by 26.21 percent. Cost of cooking gas fell by 5.83 percent.