February WPI inflation surges to 2.93% on rise in food, fuel prices

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Like its retail price counterpart, the wholesale price index- (WPI-) based inflation rate rose to 2.93 per cent in February, from 2.76 per cent in the previous month, on surge in prices of food, among other items. 

Data released earlier this week showed that the consumer price index- (CPI-) based inflation rate moved up to a four-month high of 2.57 per cent, from 1.97 per cent in January. 

“Inflation in the economy has started moving up from the trough reached last month both at the retail and wholesale levels,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist at CARE Ratings. 

However, food items continued to witness deflation in CPI, while the inflation rate in them rose to 4.28 per cent in February, from 2.34 per cent in the previous month. 

Pulses, which had been witnessing falling prices till a few months ago, saw double-digit inflation rate at 10.88 per cent. Inflation rate in wheat too stood at 12.29 per cent against 9.94 per cent in January. Economists are not sure whether it is an effect of rise in the minimum support price or drop in rabi sowing acreage. 

“Is it a lagged impact of government announcement of raising MSP to 1.5 times of production cost or lower sowing area under rabi crops is difficult to say,” Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at India Ratings, said.

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