Wholesale food inflation eases to 3.6% in April

Wholesale food inflation in April 2020 eased to 3.60% as against 5.49% in March, the truncated wholesale price-based (WPI) data for April showed on Thursday.  The government released truncated data for April WPI saying there was a limited transaction of products in the market due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

Wholesale

“In view of the limited transactions of products in the wholesale market in the month of April, 2020, due to spread of Covid-19 pandemic, it has been decided to release the Price Movement of selected Sub-groups/Groups of WPI, following the principles of adequacy,” the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a press release.

All Commodities WPI could not be computed for April-2020 due to non- availability of manufactured product group index, it added.  As per the data released by the ministry, WPI deflation in primary articles was 0.79% in April, as against inflation of 3.72% in March. Similarly, Fuel & Power data showed that wholesale prices in April contracted by -10.12% as against -1.76% in March.

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“The index for this major group declined in April 20 by (-8.2%) to 92.4 (P) from 100.7(P) for the previous month. Prices of mineral oils group (-14.11%) and electricity (-3.39%) declined whereas prices of coal remained unchanged as compared to the previous month,” the ministry said in its statement.  WPI Food Index eased to 3.60% in April while it was 5.49% in last month.

“The Food Index consisting of ‘Food Articles’ from Primary Articles group and ‘Food Products’ from Manufactured Products group have provisionally increased from 146.1 in March, 2020 to 146.6 in April, 2020. The rate of inflation based on WPI Food Index decreased from 5.49% in March, 2020 to 3.60% in April, 2020,” the ministry said.

In view of the limited transactions of products in the market in the month of April, 2020, it has been decided to release only limited numbers of major groups/sub-groups of manufactured products, it said.

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Prices of Manufacture of Food Products (-0.29%), Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemical and botanical products (-0.15%) and Manufacture of Basic metals (-0.84%)provisionally declined whereas prices of Manufacture of Chemicals and Chemical Products (0.86%) and Manufacture of Beverages (0.24%) provisionally increased in April 20 compared to the previous month, it added.

In March, wholesale price inflation eased to a four-month low of one per cent, from 2.26% in February, on sharp fall in prices of food and fuel items as demand slowed due to the lockdown over COVID-19 outbreak.