August WPI inflation rises to 3.24%

Wholesale inflation rises to four-month high of 3.24% in August

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) or wholesale inflation for the month of August 2017 rose to 3.24% as compared to 1.88% in July 2017 and 1.1% in the similar period of the previous year.

On the other hand, the index for fuel and power (weight 13.15 per cent) rose by 0.9 per cent to 89.2 from 88.4 for the previous month due to higher price of naphtha, petrol, kerosene, HSD, ATF and furnace oil.

Wholesale price inflation quickened to 3.2 percent in August from 1.9 percent in July, official data from the Ministry of Commerce & Industry showed on September 14.

The index for manufactured products (weight 64.23 per cent) for August, 2017 rose by 0.2 per cent to 112.9 from 112.7 for the previous month.

The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index consisting of Food Articles from Primary Articles group and Food Product from Manufactured Products group increased from 2.12% in July, 2017 to 4.41% in August, 2017.

Wholesale inflation in fuel and power also touched near double digits at 9.99 per cent in August against 4.37 per cent in July.

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Firstly, unfavorable base effects caused by the drop in food prices in the second half of a year ago will push food inflation higher.

Although wholesale price inflation is less important for policymaking than CPI Inflation, the central bank is likely to take heed of the rise in August. Petrol inflation, however, jumped by 24.55 per cent and diesel by 20.30 per cent im August.

Last month, the Reserve Bank cut policy repo rate by 0.25 percent to 6 percent citing reduction in inflation risk. "Nevertheless, the uptick in headline as well as core wholesale inflation in August 2017, strengthens the case for a pause in the upcoming monetary policy review", said Aditi Nayar, principal economist at Icra.

Rawat observed that prices at the fuel stations are rising even when global crude oil rates have not gone up significantly.

"There have been such episodes in the past and we need to double up our efforts to boost agri-production as well as improve the distribution and supply chains. The need for a further cut in interest rates to stimulate demand and growth in the economy can not be overemphasised".

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