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Food inflation up even as WPI remains in negative zone for 17th month in a row

Wholesale price-based inflation remained in the negative zone for the 17th month in a row at (-)0.85 percent in March even as prices of some food articles, mainly pulses, turned costlier.

Food inflation-AV

The March wholesale price index-based inflation was higher than (-)0.91 percent in February. In March last year, it was (-)2.33 percent.

This is the 17th straight month since November 2014 when deflationary pressure persisted.

Food inflation stood at 3.73 percent in March compared with 3.35 percent in February, showed official data released today.

Inflation in vegetables came in at (-)2.26 percent in March while the same in pulses was high at 34.45 percent.

Onion and fruits saw easing of prices, with these sub-indices falling by 17.65 percent and 2.13 percent, respectively.

The inflation print in the fuel and power segment was (-)8.30 percent, and for manufactured products, it read (-)0.13 percent in March.

The January WPI inflation has been revised lower to (-)1.07 percent from the provisional estimate of (-)0.90 percent.

The Reserve Bank mainly looks at retail inflation data while firming up its monetary policy stance. Retail inflation in March fell to a six-month low of 4.83 per cent.

RBI earlier this month cut the key policy rate by 0.25 percent and projected retail inflation to be around 5 percent this fiscal.

It had said there were uncertainties over unseasonal rains, the likely spatial and temporal distribution of the monsoon, the low reservoir levels by historical averages, and the strength of the recent upturn in commodity prices, especially oil.

The Met department, however, later forecast an above-normal monsoon for this year.

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