India’s February WPI inflation firms up to 6.55% | business-news | Hindustan Times
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India’s February WPI inflation firms up to 6.55%

Mineral prices were up 31% while fuels were costlier by 21% as petrol and diesel prices were revised up.

business Updated: Mar 14, 2017 13:09 IST
Raj Kumar Ray
A vegetable vendor sitting in his shop
A vegetable vendor sitting in his shop(HT photo)

India’s wholesale price index-based inflation flared up to two-and-a-half years high of 6.55% in February from 5.25% in January mainly due to a spurt in mineral and fuel prices while food prices started rising following rapid remonetisation.

The spurt in WPI inflation adds to the worries of a pent up demand after demonetisation which may prompt Reserve Bank of India to keep policy interest rates unchanged for some more months.

The WPI inflation printed higher than analysts’ expectation of 5.9% as polled by Reuters and was much higher than 0.85% decline in the same month last year.

The February WPI inflation was steepest since August 2013 when it printed at 6.99%.

Government data showed on Tuesday the food inflation firmed up to 2.69% in February from a 0.56% fall in January.

Mineral prices were up 31% while fuels were costlier by 21% as petrol and diesel prices were revised up.

The primary articles index up 5% while the fuels index rose 21% and manufactured products index 3.66% in February.

In the February monetary policy review, the RBI paused on rates as it expects inflation to firm up due to the rapid pace of remonetisation.

Since 2015, RBI has lower rates by 175 bps while the government has stepped up spending and speeded up reforms to pump prime the economy amid feeble global recovery.

CSO has projected economic growth is projected at 7.1% for 2016-17 as compared with 7.9% in 2015-16, on expectation of a fall out of demonetisation on the consumption demand during the second half of the fiscal year.

Consumption and investment activity were dampened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8 announced the bold decision to scrap Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. While the demonetisation weeded out Rs 15.44 lakh crore or 86% of currency from circulation, the government and RBI has been able to pump in about Rs 11.5 lakh crore worth of new notes so far.