NEW DELHI : India's annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices softened in March at 5.70 per cent after having risen to over a three-year high of 6.55 per cent in February, official data showed on Monday. According to data released here by the Commerce Ministry, the wholesale price index (WPI) in March 2016, however, had declined to (-)0.45 per cent.
Food articles rose by 3.12 per cent during the month under review, as against 4.09 per cent in March 2016.
However, expenses on primary articles, which constitute 20.12 per cent of the WPI's total weight, rose by 4.63 per cent during March, as compared to 2.97 per cent in the same month a year ago.
The wholesale inflation rate for onion was higher year-on-year at (-)10.78 per cent, but that for potatoes was lower at (-)17.07 per cent.
Overall, vegetable prices in March rose sharply at 5.70 per cent, as compared to a negative inflation of (-)2.03 per cent in the same month a year ago.
Year-on-Year, while wheat became expensive by 4.65 per cent, protein-based food items such as eggs, meat and fish became dearer by 3.12 per cent.
Prices of manufactured products, which comprise nearly 65 per cent of the index, continued to rise by 2.99 per cent, as compared to 0.13 per cent in March a year ago.
The sub-category of manufactured food products registered a rise of 6.96 per cent, as against 5.58 per cent a year ago
Fuel and power price inflation accelerated massively in March, shooting up 18.16 per cent, as compared to a decline of (-) 8.30 per cent in the same month a year ago.
Segment-wise, the price of high-speed diesel rose by 26.24 per cent last month, while that for petrol climbed by 20.56 per cent and for LPG by 7.25 per cent.
Official data last week showed that the Consumer Price Index (CPI), or retail inflation, during March rose month-on-month at 3.81 per cent. The CPI inflation rate in February was at 3.65 per cent.
Year-on-Year, however, the retail inflation rate fell as compared to 4.83 per cent recorded in March 2016.