India’s wholesale prices decline for 7th consecutive month


AFP

MUMBAI–India’s wholesale inflation fell for a seventh consecutive month, but the pace of the drop slowed as fuel and food prices rose, government data showed on Monday. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI), an inflation indicator which measures the biggest basket of goods, fell a less-than-expected 2.36 percent in May from a year earlier. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the WPI to slump 2.50 percent after a 2.65 percent drop in April. The figures came after data on Friday showed that consumer price inflation data had increased to 5.01 percent from 4.87 percent in April. Analysts said the numbers reinforced their belief that India’s central bank would not cut interest rates until the monsoon ends in late September.

��The risk of a flare up in food price inflation remains due to the prediction of a below normal monsoon,�� said Arun Singh, senior economist at research firm Dun & Bradstreet. The Reserve Bank of India has a target of bringing inflation consistently below 6 percent by January 2016, and to 4 percent for the 2016-17 financial year.

It has sliced 75-basis points of its key interest rate already this year and recently took the unusual step of urging the government to ensure adequate stockpiles of food to sustain the country and keep prices low after the summer monsoon. Monsoon rains are vital for Indian crops and a particularly dry season can reduce farm output, raising food prices which can be crippling for the tens of millions of India’s poor. India’s economy outgrew China’s in the first three months of 2015, benefiting from the drop in oil prices.