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India's Wholesale Inflation Hits Three-Month High, Reaches 0.53% in March

Wholesale inflation in India saw a marginal increase to 0.53% in March, driven by higher prices of vegetables, potato, onion, and crude oil.

Saurabh Shukla
India's Wholesale Inflation Hits Three-Month High, Reaches 0.53% in March (Photo Source: Pixabay)
India's Wholesale Inflation Hits Three-Month High, Reaches 0.53% in March (Photo Source: Pixabay)

Wholesale inflation in India saw a slight uptick, reaching 0.53 percent in March, up from 0.20 percent in the previous month. This rise was attributed to increases in the prices of various commodities such as vegetables, potato, onion, and crude oil, according to data released by the commerce ministry on April 15.

The commerce and industry ministry, in a statement on 15 April 2024, highlighted that the annual rate of inflation, based on the all-India Wholesale Price Index (WPI), stood at 0.53 percent for March 2024 compared to the same period last year. The statement emphasized that the positive inflation rate in March 2024 was primarily driven by higher prices of food articles, electricity, crude petroleum & natural gas, machinery & equipment, and other manufacturing components.

Food inflation witnessed a marginal increase to 6.88 percent in March, up from 5.42 percent a year ago. Notably, the inflation in vegetables surged to 19.52 percent, a significant rise from the negative 2.39 percent recorded in March 2023. Similarly, the WPI for potato and onion registered substantial increases of 52.96 percent and 56.99 percent, respectively, compared to the same period last year.

In the crude petroleum sector, inflation rose by 10.26 percent in March 2024, a stark contrast to the 23.53 percent deflation observed in March 2023, primarily due to the firming up of crude prices globally.

On the other hand, the annual rate of inflation for the Manufactured Products group of WPI decreased to negative 0.85 percent in March 2024, compared to negative 1.27 percent in February 2024.

Looking at the broader picture, for the fiscal year ending March 31, the wholesale inflation index (WPI) exhibited a decline of 0.7 percent, contrasting sharply with the 9.41 percent rise recorded in the previous fiscal year.

The data underscores the complex dynamics at play within India's wholesale market, influenced by both domestic and global factors, and the potential implications for consumers and businesses alike.

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