Expensive fruits and vegetables push inflation to 6.01% in May

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Rising prices of food and beverages like coffee, tea, poultry, fish and vegetables pushed up inflation to 5-month high of 6.01% in May.  The Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation was 5.20% in April and 4.58% a year ago in May.

According to the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry today, food items which became expensive during the month include coffee (23%), poultry chicken (7%), fish-inland (6%) and tea and fruits and vegetables (4% each). The other items in the primary articles segment which became dearer are condiments and spices, fish-marine, urad and masur (3% each), rice and moong (2% each) and milk, barley, pork, mutton and arhar (1% each).  However, the prices of maize came down by five%), wheat and ragi by 2% each and egg, jowar and gram by one% each.

In the ’Non-Food Articles’ category, guar seed became expensive by 13%, soyabean (10%), copra (coconut) (8%), tobacco (7%), raw jute (5%), raw silk (3%), mesta (2%) and groundnut seed, raw cotton and cotton seed (1% each). However, the data showed, the price of gingelly seed and flowers declined by 8% each, fodder by 3% and linseed, castor seed and sunflower by 1%.  The inflation figures for March was revised to 6% from 5.70% reported earlier. The previous high was 6.4% in December.

In the manufactured goods category, food items which became expensive include tea leaf (unblended) (11%), tea leaf (blended) (8%), gur and bakery products (4% each), gola (cattle feed) and processed prawn (3% each), copra oil and ghee (2% each) and mixed spices, khandsari and oil cakes (1% each). 

However, the price of tea dust (unblended) declined by 3%, groundnut oil and gingelly oil (2% each) and soyabean oil and sunflower oil (1% each). The data further revealed that dried tobacco became expensive by 8% and cigarette by 2%. 

In the textiles group category, man made fabric, jute sacking cloth, jute sacking bag and cotton fabric became dearer by one% each, though prices of jute yarn declined by 4% and tyre cord fabric and gunny and hessian cloth by one% each.

Similar price increase was noticed in other categories like wood and wood products, paper and paper products, leather and leather products, rubber and plastic products and chemicals and chemical products.

Items in metals, machinery and machine tools and transport equipment categories too became expensive during May pushing up the overall inflation rate.

Upasna Bhardwaj an economist at Ing Vysya Bank said the numbers were "very shocking."

"Though it is a broad-based uptick, food prices have surged sharply," she said.

She expected price trajectory to be volatile in the next few months due to uncertainty over the monsoon rains and outlook for crops.

Bond yields fell and the Indian rupee weakened after the data. India’s benchmark 10-year bond yield rose 3 basis points to 8.64%. The rupee weakened to 60.23 per dollar, its lowest level since May 6.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took office on May 26, has listed fighting inflation, particularly food inflation, as his priority, and low low rainfall will make it harder for him to bring prices under control.

The weather department has predicted below average rainfall between June-September this year, which could hit summer crops such as rice, corn, soybean and cotton, exacerbating price pressures and impacting economic growth.

Comments on this Article
Vincent, Udupi Mon, June-16-2014, 6:03
Ache Din Ane Wale Hai...
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