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Food inflation up marginally to 8.76% for the week ended 16th April

The government and the RBI had exuded confidence that with a record harvest of wheat and pulses, the trend of increase in prices of food items would be reversed. However, after the slight moderation of February and March, food inflation numbers have again started moving upward

New Delhi: Food inflation inched up marginally to 8.76% for the week ended 16th April from 8.74% in the previous week, on the back of rising prices of fruits, protein-based items and onions, reports PTI.

This is the second consecutive week when the rate of price rise of food items has gone up after a period of moderation in February and March.

The latest rise, although marginal, will put more pressure on the government, which has described inflation as one of the major challenges facing the economy.

Earlier this month, prime minister Manmohan Singh had expressed concern about rising prices, especially of food items, and said the country needs to do more for ensuring the food security of its citizens.

During the week under review, fruits became dearer by 28.43% year-on-year, while eggs, meat and fish prices went up by 12.14%. Onions became more expensive by 10.96% on an annual basis and milk became dearer by 5.10%.

Similarly, cereal prices went up by 4.49%, while rice and wheat became dearer by 2.08% and 0.48%, respectively.

However, pulses bucked the trend and witnessed a decline of 6.49% in their wholesale prices. Overall, vegetable prices were down by 0.21% and potatoes by 1.61%.

Meanwhile, during the week under review, prices of non-food articles were up by 26.48% year-on-year. Fuel and power became dearer by 13.53%, while petrol was up 21.81%.

Food inflation stayed in high numbers for most of 2010 and early 2011 and was the major contributor to headline inflation, which has been above 8% since February 2010.

Headline inflation stood at 8.98% in March, way above the government’s projection of 8%.

The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had exuded confidence that with a record harvest of wheat and pulses, the trend of increase in prices of food items would be reversed.

However, after the slight moderation of February and March, food inflation numbers have again started moving upward and experts say this could be a major issue for the government at a time when non-food core inflation has also shown signs of going up.

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Biocon Q4 net up 25% to Rs100.8 crore

For the full year ended 31 March, the Bangalore-based biotech company’s net profit rose to Rs367.52 crore from Rs293.25 crore in the same period a year ago

Mumbai: Biotechnology major Biocon today reported a growth of 25.04% in consolidated net profit to Rs100.81 crore for the fourth quarter ended 31 March 2011 compared to Rs80.62 crore for the same period last year, Biocon said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Total income of the company also grew to Rs703.23 crore in the January-March quarter from Rs658.21 crore in the same period last year, reports PTI.

For the full-year ended 31 March 2011, the Bangalore-based company’s net profit rose to Rs367.52 crore from Rs293.25 crore in the same period a year ago.

The board of directors of the company has declared an interim dividend of 30% (Rs1.50 per share) and a final dividend of 60% (Rs3 per share) has also been proposed by the board subject to the approval of the members, thereby taking the total dividend for the year to 90% (Rs4.50 per share) on the share capital of the company.

Meanwhile, the shares of the company were trading at Rs 379.70, down 1.33% from the previous close on the BSE.

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