Greece and the theatre of the absurd

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Food inflation marginally down to 8.96% for the week ended 4th June

Food inflation was in double digits for most of last year, before showing signs of moderation since March this year. However, it had again breached the 9% mark in the last week of May after a gap of two months

New Delhi: Food inflation went down marginally to 8.96% for the week ended 4th June on the back of cheaper pulses and vegetables. Food inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), stood at 9.01% in the previous week, while it was over 21% in the first week of June last year, reports PTI.

The latest fall, although very marginal, is likely to be seen as a silver lining by the government, which has been battling the high rate of price rise across all segments for the past few months and also had to contend with low economic growth and factory output numbers in recent months.

Headline inflation in the country stood at 9.06% in May. Headline inflation has been above the 8% mark since January 2010.


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has already hiked its key policy rates 10 times since March, 2010 to tame demand and curb inflation. The latest hike of 25 basis points in the short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates was announced today.

During the week under review, prices of pulses went down by over 10% year-on-year, while vegetables became cheaper by 1.39%.

However, prices of other food items continued to move upward. Fruits became almost 30% more expensive, while milk was up 10.59%. Eggs, meat and fish became dearer by 7.31% on an annual basis.

The prices of onions went up by 12.17% and potatoes by 1.14%. Cereals were also up by 5.25%.

Overall, inflation in primary articles stood at 12.86% during the week under review, up from 11.52% in the previous week. Primary articles have a share of 20% in the overall WPI basket.

Meanwhile, inflation in non-food primary articles stood at 20.20% during the week under review, a slight dip from 20.97% in the previous week.

Fibres became 53.54% more expensive and minerals were up 25.90%. Fuel and power became dearer by 12.84% and petrol was up 33.23%.


In its annual monetary policy for 2011-12 announced last month, the RBI had said that inflationary pressure will continue for the next few months on account of high international commodity prices, particularly of crude.

It had said that headline inflation would be driven more by commodities like oil in the near future, rather than high food prices, as was the case during most of 2010.

The RBI had projected headline inflation to average 9% during the first half of the fiscal, before moderating to around 6% by March 2012.

Food inflation was in double digits for most of last year, before showing signs of moderation since March this year. However, it had again breached the 9% mark during the last week of May after a gap of two months.

The government had to deal with a series of bad news during recent weeks on the economic front. While January-March economic growth stood at 7.8%, the lowest in five quarters, industrial output also slowed down to 6.3% in April.

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Strike at Maruti's Manesar plant enters 13th day; stock falls 1.86%

Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda, on Wednesday, met MSI top executives, including managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi, and was understood to have assured the firm of the state government's support in not permitting the formation of a second union

New Delhi: The crippling strike at the country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India's (MSI) Manesar plant entered its 13th day today, with production completely shut down, reports PTI.

"The situation is the same as yesterday... There is no change," a company spokesperson told PTI.

The company has lost production of 11,400 units till yesterday, valued at about Rs570 crore.

Yesterday evening, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda met MSI top executives, including managing director and CEO Shinzo Nakanishi, and was understood to have assured the firm of the state government's support in not permitting the formation of a second union.

Meanwhile, workers in about 65 factories in the Gurgaon-Manesar industrial belt have decided to 'work empty stomach' on 17th June and hold a two-hour tool-down strike on 20th June from 11am to 1pm to support the striking employees of Maruti.

Due to the strike, waiting periods for diesel variants of three models-Swift, DZiRE and SX4-have increased further by up to one month and the company now fears an impact on its sales during this month due to the production loss.

MSI managing executive officer (marketing and sales) Mayank Pareek said: "We usually do not produce more cars than the market demand. So, whatever loss in production we are witnessing, that will be the impact on sales in this month."

On 4th June, workers went on a strike demanding the recognition of a new union, Maruti Suzuki Employees Union (MSEU), formed by those working at the Manesar plant, among other things.

While a company spokesperson said only about 600 people are on strike, MSEU general secretary Shiv Kumar claimed at least 2,000 workers are on a sit-in stir at the plant.

Cracking the whip, the company fired 11 workers last week for allegedly inciting others to go on strike.

Currently, the company has one recognised union-Maruti Udyog Kamgar Union-which is dominated by workers at the Gurgaon plant.

The Manesar plant rolls out about 1,200 units every day in two shifts. The factory produces hatchbacks Swift and A-Star and sedans DZiRE and SX4.

Shares of Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) were trading 1.86% down at Rs 1,188 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange in noon trade today.

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