Sucheta Dalal :Food inflation jumps to 15.6% as potato prices soar
Sucheta Dalal

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Food inflation jumps to 15.6% as potato prices soar  

November 26, 2009

 

Food inflation shot up to 15.6% for the second week of November on the back of spiralling potato prices, which have more than doubled in the past year, reports PTI.
 
Other essential items like pulses and onion rose by more than 25% in the wholesale market, government data on inflation for the week ended 14th November showed.
 
"Food inflation is incredibly high...The drought has aggravated the situation and I expect the wholesale price-based inflation to rise to around 7% by March next year," said HDFC Bank economist Jyotinder Kaur.
With inflationary pressure building up, the RBI in its next policy review may take steps to check easy money. "It is likely that RBI in its January policy might go for monetary tightening measures and raise the cash reserve ratio (CRR) or policy rates," Kaur said.
 
According to the inflation data, potato prices rose by 111%, pulses by 35% and onion by 27% in the one-year period ending 14th November.
 
Staple items like wheat and rice rose by 12% each during the period. Vegetable prices too continued to go up, registering a 12% rise during the same period. However, among fuels, petrol prices fell by 12%, cooking gas by 7% and diesel by 6%.
Food inflation for the week ended 14th November was significantly higher even when compared on a weekly basis.
Axis Bank economist Saugata Bhattacharya said the persistence of higher food prices is worrying. "I expect wholesale price inflation to rise between 7% and 8% by March-end," he said.
 
Among other items, urad and poultry chicken prices rose by 15% each, eggs by 8%, moong by 6%, arhar by 5% and fruits & vegetables by 3%.
 
Led by costlier food prices, wholesale inflation rose to 1.3% in October from 0.5% in the previous month. Inflation had remained in the negative for 13 straight months before trudging into positive territory in the first week of September at 0.1%.
Among non-food articles, raw silk rose by 3% and fodder and groundnut seed by 2% each. Barley, however, fell by 2% and tobacco by 3%.

The fuel index, on the other hand, remained unchanged at the previous week's level. The primary articles index rose by 1.2% on a weekly basis and by 11.04% on an annual basis.
Yogesh Sapkale [email protected]

-- Sucheta Dalal



 



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