Food inflation to ease after monsoon: FM

New Delhi: Food inflation shot past 16% for the week ended 18th September, the fifth straight week of steady climb, prompting finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to express concern over the rising prices of essentials, reports PTI.

"Inflation has increased and particularly the number of food items like jawar or bajra and pulses, fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs... All these food items prices have increased. This is an area of concern," Mr Mukherjee said.

Food inflation climbed 0.98 percentage points to 16.44% during the week ended 18th September, from 15.46% in the previous week, on higher prices of vegetables, milk and pulses.

Mr Mukherjee said, however, "I do feel that after the monsoon period is over, and I do feel it would (be) over in a few days, there would be some moderating influence and the monetary policy, which we have adopted, will also mop up the excess liquidity from the market."

Economists too said the prices would ease as rains recede and Kharif output comes to the market. They said once supply disruptions stop, prices of fruits and vegetables will come down, which is expected after October.

"Once Kharif output arrives in the market post October and supply constraints are lessened as rain recedes, inflation will come down," Crisil chief economist D K Joshi said.

Many parts of the country including Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam and the desert state of Rajasthan have been witnessing torrential rains and floods that have disrupted supplies of staples. Eastern and north-eastern regions are, however, facing drought conditions.

On an annual basis, cereals prices rose by 6.11%, driven mainly by higher prices of pulses, rice and wheat.

While prices of pulses rose 5.94% on a yearly basis, wheat and rice became costlier by 9.14% and 4.05%, respectively.

Fruit and vegetable prices rose by 15.13% and 5.87%.

Among other food items, milk prices soared by 24.32% during the week compared to the same period last year, and onion prices went up by 1.39%. However, potato prices declined by 50.48%, continuing the trend of the last few weeks.

Experts said if food prices continue to rise unabated, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will tighten its lending and borrowing rates in the next policy rates review in November.

Earlier this month, to tame inflation, the RBI raised key policy rates by up to 50 basis points for the fifth time this year in order to curb consumer spending.

It upped short-term lending (repo) rate by 25 basis points and borrowing (reverse repo) rate by 50 basis points to 6% and 5%, respectively.


Ahluwalia Contracts wins orders worth Rs476 crore for civil works

Ahluwalia Contracts (India) Ltd said it won orders worth around Rs476 crore for various civil works.

The company won an order worth Rs235 crore from Logix Infratech for civil and structural works for Logix-Blossom Green residential project. It has also won an order worth Rs55.2 crore from Ultra Space Developers, Mumbai, for civil and finishing works for residential project 'Insignia', said the company in a regulatory.

The orders worth Rs60 crore and Rs90 crore are from Sheth Developers, Mumbai, for construction of commercial building E-Zone IT Part at Thane and for construction of two residential towers' block at Vasant Lawns, Thane.

The company received another order for Rs51.9 crore from NBCC, New Delhi, for construction of National Press Centre at Raisina Road, while it had received an order for Rs77.4 crore from Samundra Developers for civil and finishing works for residential tower 'The Address' in Bandra, Mumbai.

The company received orders worth Rs26.8 crore from Guru Ashis Developers, Mumbai, for civil and structural works for residential towers in Sec-R9, re-development project at Siddarth Nagar, and an order worth Rs11.3 crore from Infinity BNKe Infocity for civil construction works in proposed IT Part at Salt Lake, Kolkata.

On Thursday, Ahluwalia Contracts shares gained 2% to Rs206 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex closed 0.6% up at 20,069 points.


Sun Pharma gets FDA nod for generic heart disease drug

Drug maker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd said it received an approval for its abbreviated new drug application  (ANDA) from the US health regulator to sell a generic version of Crestor tablets, used in the treatment of various heart diseases, in the American market.

The company's US subsidiary has received the ANDA approval to market a generic version of IPR Pharmaceutical's Crestor tablets in strengths of 5mg, 10mg, 20mg and 40mg, Sun Pharma said in a statement.

Crestor has annual sales of nearly $3.4 billion in the US market. The generic Rosuvastatin tablets contain Rosuvastatin Calcium in strengths of 5mg, 10mg, 20mg and 40mg, it said.

The tablets are used in patients suffering with heart diseases like pertriglyceridemia and patients with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia.

On Thursday, Sun Pharma shares gained 0.8% to Rs2,018 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex closed 0.6% up at 20,069 points.


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