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Wholesale Inflation Rises to 13-mth High of 1.26% in Apr

May 16, 2024
Capital Market , Economy

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Wholesale inflation rose to a 13-month high of 1.26% in April compared with 0.53% in the previous month, as food inflation went up further and fuel and power prices increased on a year-on-year basis after a gap of 11 months. The year-on-year WPI (Wholesale Price Index) inflation hardened to a 13-month high of 1.3% in April 2024 (-0.8% in April 2023) from 0.5% in March 2024, driven by fuel and power, WPI-food (primary food plus manufactured food) and core-WPI (manufactured non-food products). Going ahead, the base effect will remain adverse over the next two months, thereby resulting in higher WPI inflation. Brent crude oil prices had touched $90 per barrel in April. ICRA projects the WPI inflation to harden further to 2.0-3.0% in May 2024 (-3.6% in May 2023), owing to an adverse base effect for crude oil and food items. Consumer inflation is also likely to climb above 5% in May.
Consumer inflation eased slightly in April to 4.83% from 4.85% in the previous month, even though food inflation rose to 8.7% from 8.5% earlier. The gap between WPI and Consumer Price Inflation reduced to a 14-month low of 3.57 percentage points in April. Experts indicated that higher food inflation is unlikely to make the central bank change its stance in its upcoming June meeting.

The Reserve Bank of India is likely to hold the policy rate at 6.5% for the eighth consecutive time after its monetary policy committee meets on June 5-7, close on the heels of the announcement of general election results. Sequentially, the WPI was up 0.8% in April, as food prices increased 2.7%, and prices of manufactured products, which account for two-thirds of the weight, were up 0.5%. Inflation in food articles went up 7.74% in April compared with 6.88% in the previous month, as rice, pulses and vegetables continued to post double-digit price rise.

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