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Cheaper potato, onions pull down food inflation to 10.35%

New Delhi: Food inflation declined by over a percentage point to 10.35% during the week ended 7th August on cheaper vegetables, especially potato and onion, but the fall may not prompt the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to reverse its tight money policy stance at the next review on 16th September, reports PTI.

Inflation in food items declined by 1.05 percentage points compared to 11.40% in the previous week. It was 14.18% a year ago and had crossed 20% in December 2009.

"We will continue to see weekly fluctuations, ups and downs. Although the monsoon has been good, in certain agricultural areas like Satara in Maharashtra there have been supply disruptions due to floods," Axis Bank chief economist Saugata Bhattacharya said.

"However, we do not think the RBI is likely to go for any major policy change just due to the food inflation figure for a week. Factors like manufacturing output and WPI inflation will also factor in it," he added.

The RBI, which has been tightening the monetary policy to tame the rising prices, is scheduled to come out with its first mid-quarterly review on 16th September.

Commenting on decline in food inflation, Crisil chief economist D K Joshi said, "While vegetable prices are down, wheat prices are up. This is part of the trend and the reason for fluctuation. However, we think the long term underlying trend is one of decline and it will get reflected well after the kharif harvest."

Food inflation data showed that vegetables become cheaper by 22.12%, while the prices of potato and onions in the wholesale market declined by 49.81% and 6.91% respectively on yearly basis.

Having remained in single-digits for two weeks, the food inflation climbed by again to 11.4% during the week ended 31st July.

It has remained in the double-digits for most of the time since late last year when the government started bringing out separate figures for food inflation, which had shot up above 21% in December 2010.

Analysts expect that food inflation will continue to fluctuate for some more time before showing declining trend on arrival of new crops.

The overall inflation, as measured by the wholesale price index (WPI) and includes prices of manufactured goods besides food items, fell to single digit at 9.97% in July, after a gap of five months.
 

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