India's inflation rate for the week ended April 25 rose yet again, and held near a three-decade low at 0.70% from 0.57% the week before. It stood at 8.27% for the corresponding week of the preceding year, data released Friday by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry say.

Going by provisional figures, the wholesale price index or WPI for all- commodities rose by 0.2% to 230.7 from 230.2 for the preceding week.

Inflation, based on the wholesale price index, increased mainly due to the higher prices of tea, milk, wheat, syrup, vitamin tablets, rice bran oil, sugar, ghee as well as some manufactured products covered under all-category groups.

The final estimate of inflation for the week ended February 28 was lowered to 2.47% from the earlier provisional figure of 2.43%.

The main index for primary articles rose by 0.2%, due to the higher prices of tea, bajra, soyabean, arhar, milk, wheat, condiments and spices, jowar, tobacco and linseed. However, the prices of raw rubber, masur, raw silk, fruits and vegetables, groundnut seed, as well as raw cotton, declined.

The index representing fuel, power, light and lubricants was unchanged at its previous week's level of 323.0.

The index of Manufactured Products rose by 0.3%, due to the higher prices of syrup, purified terephthalic acid, vitamin tablets, gur, rice bran oil, skimmed milk powder, oilcakes, methanol, sugar, khandsari, tablets except vitamin, and penicillin, ghee, gingelly oil as well as all kinds of acids, while those of zinc, lead ingots and zinc ingots declined.

Deepali Bhargava, an economist with ING Vysya Bank, said inflation was expected to rise largely due to the general rise in food prices. Inflation falling below zero percent has been postponed for a while now, may be until early next month.

On the other hand, the International Monetary Fund said inflation was expected to rise modestly next year in most Asian economies, but core inflation was likely to remain subdued, helping to support for monetary policy.

The Reserve Bank of India said the annual inflation rate could turn negative because of the rapid acceleration in prices this time last year, but has discounted the threat of deflation because consumer prices are still strong. It has forecast wholesale inflation to be around 4% by the end of fiscal 2010.

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