RTTNews - India's inflation rate for the week ended August 8 rose marginally to minus 1.53% from the previous week's negative level of 1.74%. The rate turned negative for the week ended June 6 for the first time since the new wholesale price index or WPI series started in 1995.

The annual rate of inflation was 12.82% for the corresponding week of the preceding year, say data released Thursday by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Going by the provisional figures, the WPI for all-commodities rose by 0.1% to 237.4 from 237.2 for the preceding week.

Inflation, based on the wholesale price index, increased due to the higher prices of fruits and vegetables, edible oils, as also some manufacturing products.

The final estimate of inflation for the week ended June 13 was unchanged at its provisional week's figure of minus 1.14%.

The increase in the prices of bajra, urad, condiments and spices, arhar, as also fruits and vegetables in the Food Articles category, besides raw rubber in the Non-Food category, pushed the growth rate of the main index for primary articles to 0.2% from the previous week's level. However, those of jowar, barley, moong, as also raw silk declined.

The index representing fuel, power, light and lubricants dropped marginally to 338.2 from the previous week's 338.3.

The index for Manufactured Products rose by 0.1%, during the period under review, due to the higher prices of tractor components and accessories, liquid chlorine, steel ingots, zinc ingots, lead ingots, khandsari, rice bran oil, imported edible oil, sooji, maida and ghee, as also oilcake, while that of all types of bran, hessian cloth, as also caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) dropped.

In its July review, Reserve Bank of India or RBI raised its inflation forecast to around 5% by the end of March 2010 from the 4% projected earlier.

RBI Governor Duvvuri Subba Rao said the agriculture situation was disturbing, and there would be pressure on food prices. The central bank said it was monitoring the situation, and would take appropriate action at the right time.

Since the start of the four-month monsoon season on June 1, rains were recorded 29% below normal, denting agriculture outlook and threatening to slow a burgeoning economic recovery and sending food prices higher. Less rainfall is expected to affect the farm output and raise inflation. RBI said prices this year might go up because of the erratic monsoon. Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department has officially declared 2009 a drought year.

Subba Rao said last week it was too early to take action on inflation, as signs of pressure on prices were yet to show up, suggesting that the central bank would wait for inflation to rise before acting.

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