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Wholesale Inflation in India Remains Negative for Sixth Consecutive Month

India’s Wholesale Price Index (WPI) remained in the negative zone for the sixth consecutive month in September, standing at -0.26 percent. This means that prices for goods at the wholesale level continued to decrease.

Deflationary Trend Continues

  • In September, wholesale inflation remained at -0.26 percent, surprising economists who expected a rise to 0.7 percent.
  • This marks the sixth consecutive month of deflation, indicating a prolonged period of falling prices.

Food Prices Fluctuate

  • The food index of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) dropped significantly, primarily due to a sharp decrease in tomato prices.
  • While tomatoes saw a significant fall of 73 percent in September, other food items like cereals (1 percent), pulses (6 percent), fruits (5 percent), and milk (0.7 percent) experienced price hikes, causing concerns for consumers.

Impact of Base Effect

  • The WPI data showed a 0.59 percent month-on-month (MoM) decrease in September, similar to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) decline of 1.1 percent.
  • Despite this, the unfavorable base effect, combined with rising prices in certain categories, offset the sequential fall, highlighting ongoing challenges.

Fuel and Power Costs Rise

  • The fuel and power group of the WPI increased by over 2 percent MoM, indicating a rise in energy costs, which can have cascading effects on various sectors of the economy.

Concerns for Government and RBI

  • Rising prices in essential food items and the fuel sector are concerning for the government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The RBI, in particular, faces the challenge of balancing economic stability while addressing inflationary pressures in specific sectors.

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