Declining trend in inflation evident: FM

“I do not give much credibility to weekly fluctuations or monthly fluctuations. We shall have to take an overall view,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said

New Delhi: Buoyed by the fall in food inflation during the first week of May, the government today said there is a trend of moderation in the rate of price rise in both the food and non-food segments, reports PTI.

“Both in food inflation and overall Whole Price Index (WPI) inflation, there is a declining trend,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here.

His comments came after food inflation slipped to 7.47% for the week ended 7th May, continuing on its downward trajectory for the third consecutive week. This is the lowest food inflation figure since separate data on the rate of price rise of food items was first released about 18 months ago.

The fall in food inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), from 7.70% in the previous week was mainly due to cheaper pulses, wheat and vegetables.

Mr Mukherjee said inflation has come down in all three segments—primary articles, food and non-food.

Inflation in overall primary articles during the week under review stood at 10.94%, down from 11.96% in the previous week.

In the non-food primary articles segment, inflation fell to 23.82% from 28.62% during the week ended 30th April.

“I do not give much credibility to weekly fluctuations or monthly fluctuations. We shall have to take an overall view,” Mr Mukherjee said.

The latest numbers are likely to bring cheer to the government, which has termed inflation control as one of the major items on its agenda.

Food inflation remained in double-digits for most of 2010 before showing signs of moderation from March this year.

During the week under review, pulses became cheaper by 8.87% year-on-year, while prices of vegetables were down by 3.61%. Wheat prices fell by 0.06%.

However, prices of other food items continued to rise.

In the non-food primary articles segment, fibres became dearer by almost 62%, while minerals were up 11.95%. Fuel and power became 12.11% costlier year-on-year.

The government and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have said that in the months to come, inflationary pressure would be felt more from core (non-food) items on account of high global prices of commodities, particularly crude.

Headline inflation stood at 8.66% in April, down from over 9% in March. In its monetary policy for 2011-12, the RBI had said that overall inflation would remain high in the near future, averaging 9% during the first half of the fiscal, before moderating to around 6% by the year-end.

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Market Technicians Association appoints Sushil Kedia as board member

Sushil Kedia, founder and president, Association of Technical Market Analysts, India said, “To be the first Asian ever to be elected to the Market Technicians Association Board of Directors is an honour for not only me personally”

The Market Technicians Association, Inc (MTA), the leading organisation for technical analysis professionals and the governing body for the Chartered Market Technician (CMT) designation, announces the election of the first At-Large MTA Board Director from Asia. Effective 1 July 2011, Sushil Kedia, PGDBM (XLRI), CAIA, FRM, CMT, from Mumbai, India, will begin his three year term.

“Congratulations to Mr Kedia,” said David Keller, CMT, and MTA President. “India is one of the MTA’s fastest growing non-US markets, and that is in large part to his efforts. Not only has this benefited the MTA and CMT designation, but it has helped to broaden the awareness for technical analysis in Asia. We are excited about his addition to our Board and look forward to working even closer with him over the next few years.”

Sushil Kedia, founder and president, Association of Technical Market Analysts, India said, “To be the first Asian ever to be elected to the MTA Board of Directors is an honour for not only me personally, but also for my fellow technicians from this part of the world. The responsibility ahead, to ensure that cultural nuances of Asia are properly brought to the MTA leadership and to be able to carry the MTA’s history into Asian professional minds is a big one. I look forward to excelling given this great opportunity to serve our profession.”

“I look forward to working closely with Mr Kedia,” said Ralph Acampora, CMT, current At-Large MTA Board Director and MTA Past President. “His dedication to expanding the awareness of technical analysis around the world is very important to the growth of the MTA.”

“This is just another example of how much the demand for technical analysis information, and our CMT designation, is growing worldwide. The MTA has already seen a considerable increase in membership from the Asian Markets, and his upcoming addition to the MTA Board of Directors help to sustain this growth for many years to come,” said Mr Tom Silveri, executive director of the MTA.

The Market Technicians Association’s objective is to educate the investment community and MTA members in technical analysis. More than 4,100 analysts and related market professionals in over 75 countries are members of the MTA. The MTA is responsible for the creation, oversight, administration and regulation of the CMT designation. The CMT is the only technical analysis designation recognized by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is also the only designation for technical analysts that qualifies as a “Series 86” exemption upon passing levels 1 and 2 of the CMT exam.

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Indian market for high-end food items to double in 5 years: Symrise

Declan MacFadden, president of Symrise Asia Pacific, a German group manufacturing and marketing food flavours and fragrances has been impressed by the double-digit growth in the Indian consumer sector and has chartered a business plan for South Asian markets, which spans from India through to South-East Asia

Singapore: The Indian consumer market for high-end food products is set to double to 200 million people in the coming five years, given the ambitiously driven entrepreneurship of Indian businessmen in developing new food-based opportunities, reports PTI.

“We expect the middle-class Indian consumer market to double over the five years from the current 100 million out of the 1.2 billion population and as such, we are positioning ourselves to serve them well before that,” said Declan MacFadden, president of Symrise Asia Pacific, a German group manufacturing and marketing food flavours and fragrances in the region.

Mr MacFadden has been impressed by the double-digit growth in the Indian consumer sector and has chartered a business plan out of its Singapore office for South Asian markets, which spans from India through to South-East Asia.

“We strongly believe in India and the Indian economic growth and we are convinced that our customers from the private sector will lead the growth in the Indian food sector,” said Mr MacFadden in an interview with PTI.

He underlined Symrise’s Indian business strategy with its 17-year-old Chennai office, where 100 experts continuously monitor market trends, especially on the preferences of Indian consumers or their taste buds.

“Based on these consumer insights, they create new prototypes to fulfil these consumer needs and work in close collaboration with their customers to help bring these products to the market,” he said.

Symrise produces all flavours for the Indian market from its Chennai factory.

“We have been in Chennai since 1994 and our business has grown by double digits annually, which shows the strong consumer demand,” he said.

He specifically highlighted Symrise’s “taste enhancement” molecules, which would help to maintain the consistent taste of seasonal fruits such as weather-prone mangoes.

Mr MacFadden continued, “The Indian market is also reacting to the need for more healthy and nutritious foods in response to the strong rise in obesity and subsequent increase in diabetes in the population.

“Many food manufacturers are looking at reducing sugar, salt, fat, etc, in their products and Symrise works with these companies to make these healthy alternatives taste as good, or even better, than the original product.”

Mr MacFadden, a regular on the Indian market circuit since 1984, said, “There is willpower in the country’s private sector and we see them taking up all opportunities in the Indian market.”

However, Mr MacFadden called for more government-supported initiatives in controlling food wastages, especially from farmer to consumer.

“We hear and see some 40%-50% of the harvested food being wasted, all due to lack of proper transportation and logistics chains. This is one area that requires the urgent attention of all,” he said.

He expressed concern about the continuing infrastructure deficit in India and urged that more should be done by officials in laying out infrastructure for ensuring every piece of fresh food reaches the poor, the biggest segment of the Indian market.

Mr MacFadden said he believed the technologies and retail market management systems from more developed countries would be available for India to help control food wastage.

He noted that cold storage chains and large scale professional retail groups were now emerging in the market and that this would lead to an explosion of new processed foods and beverages being launched in this market over the coming years.

India would remain one of the major sources of food for global markets, given that agricultural land in other emerging economies is shrinking due to increasing urbanisation and industrialisation demand.

Processing and packaging technologies are already being used by Indian food industry and the microbiological contamination from traditionally sun drying has been eliminated significantly, he noted.

The Indian food sector is fortunate to have a reasonably clean slate in food production compared to other Asian countries, where food production and processing have been traumatically hit by major contamination scandals, said Mr MacFadden.

“This is an area where India must be continuously vigilant, as it will allow the country to lead the global market in food supplies,” he stressed.

However, Mr MacFadden was concerned about the inflation rate in India.

“If more food can reach the consumer, the level of inflation would be much controlled, making it affordable for the lower level of consumers,” he said.

The next big venture for the Indian market would be to set up food quality controls as manufacturing and processing industries develop.

“As for now, there is insufficient quality control in the earlier parts of the supply chain, but we can expect the Indian authorities to introduce measures, given the potential of increasing the high quality food exports to the global market,” he said.

Mr MacFadden saw Indian foods further expanding into global markets as international consumer tastes for Indian foods were increasing, just as more and more middle-income Indians were taking to Japanese, Chinese and other ethnic foods.

“Given the right management and infrastructure, such as cold chain logistics, we can see India growing into a major food market as well as a global supplier,” he said.

“These are the many opportunities we see to stay ahead of competition in India and to always aspire to provide a lead in managing the future needs of consumers in these markets,” said Mr MacFadden.

Symrise experts, including those based in Chennai, are constantly studying market opportunities, survey trends in large and small markets.

“We have to keep our data on market needs ahead of demand if we are to serve our customers well,” he said.

Symrise is already serving India’s large food companies by providing both domestic consumer studies and global expertise to help develop the consumer-desired products.

“We provide our expertise to price attractive packages, be it a small tea bag or a ‘two rupee snack package’ for the low-income, as well as higher-end processed food for the rapidly increasing middle-income consumer,” stressed the Asian head of Symrise, the supplier of flavours and fragrances with a global market share of 11% last year.

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