Mumbai, March 14: Even as manufacturing products saw a decline in inflation, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) or inflation for the month of February 2017 rose by 0.5 percent to 185.5 from 184.6 as compared to January. The wholesale price index-based inflation is believed to have jumped to a 39-month high of 6.55 percent as compared to 5.25 percent in January on the back of expensive food and fuel items. The official Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ for the month of February 2017 rose by 0.5 percent to 185.5 from 184.6 for the previous month. Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 5.82% compared to a build up rate of -1.14% in the corresponding period of the previous year.

For  ‘Food Articles’, the index rose by 0.1 percent to 267.5 from 267.2 for the previous month due to higher price of fruits & vegetables (5%), jowar and poultry chicken (2% each) and rice, bajra, fish-inland, ragi and beef & buffalo meat (1% each). Meanwhile, the price of gram (14%), arhar (7%), condiments & spices (6%), urad (5%), tea and masur (3% each), egg, moong and maize (2% each) and wheat and coffee (1% each) declined.  However, the index for primary articles rose by 0.9 percent to 258.1 from 255.7 for the previous month and the manufacturing products saw inflation falling to 3.66 per cent against 3.99 per cent.

The index for  ‘Non-Food Articles’  group rose by 1.5 percent to 234.8 from 231.3 for the previous month due to higher price of flowers (13%), copra (coconut) (9%), raw rubber (8%), raw silk (4%), raw cotton (3%), gingelly seed (2%) and coir fibre, fodder, safflower (kardi seed), niger seed and cotton seed (1% each).  Meanwhile, the price of linseed, rape & mustard seed, soyabean and mesta (2% each) and sunflower, raw wool, groundnut seed,  hides (raw) and castor seed (1% each) declined.  The data, however, justifies the Reserve Bank of India’s caution on loose monetary stance amid expected increase in interest rates in the United States in the next few days.

For ‘Minerals’ group, the index rose by 9.0 percent to 234.8 from 215.5 for the previous month due to higher price of manganese ore (24%), crude petroleum (13%), copper ore (11%), chromite (8%), iron ore (3 %) and zinc concentrate (2%).  However, the price of sillimanite (11%) declined. Similarly, fuel items turned expensive by 21 per cent against 18.1 per cent in these months. Post-demonetisation, the RBI had warned of a possible spike in inflation and stressed the need to make digital payments safe and secure.

For the month of  December, 2016, the final Wholesale Price Index for ‘All Commodities’ (Base: 2004-05=100) stood at 183.3 as compared to 182.8 (provisional) and annual rate of inflation based on final index stood at 3.68 percent as compared to 3.39 percent (provisional) respectively as reported on 16.01.2017.