Inflation likely to ease further: FM

“The April prices have come down both on the manufacturing sector and food sector... Therefore, this is good trend and if it continues, then perhaps it will be more moderated,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters

New Delhi: Encouraged by the marginal decline in inflation for April, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee today said he was hopeful prices would come down further in the coming months amidst increase in food stocks and decline in costs of manufactured items, reports PTI.

“The April prices have come down both on the manufacturing sector and food sector... Therefore, this is good trend and if it continues, then perhaps it will be more moderated,” Mr Mukherjee told reporters here.

The overall inflation, as measured by wholesale prices, has come down to 8.66% for April from 9.04% in March, official data released today showed.

On a month-on-month basis, prices of food articles declined to 8.71% in April from 9.47% in March this year. Also inflation in manufactured items fell to 6.18% in April from 6.50% in March.

On the Rs5-a litre hike in petrol prices since yesterday, Mr Mukherjee said since the petroleum product is deregulated, the oil marketing companies had to decide on the timing of price hike.

“It was for the petroleum companies to decide at what point of time they will do so. When we deregulate it, then we have to leave it to the judgement of the OMCs (oil marketing companies),” Mr Mukherjee added.

This is the eighth hike in petrol price since June 2010, when the government had freed petrol price from its control even though oil companies continued to follow ‘informal’ advice from the oil ministry on rate revision.

The three state-run OMCs—IOC, HPCL and BPCL—had not raised prices since January in view of assembly elections in states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Meanwhile, food stocks in the country have more than doubled to 44.18 million tonnes as on April 1, 2011 against the buffer norm of 21.2 million tonnes.

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WPI inflation down to 8.66% in April

State-owned oil retailing companies on Saturday announced a hike in prices of petrol by Rs5 a litre and an increase in diesel and LPG prices is also expected soon. Such a step is likely to add further pressure to the inflationary situation

New Delhi: Headline inflation in India came down marginally to 8.66% in April on the back of moderation in prices of certain food items, in line with the government's expectations. However, prices of manufactured products and fuel and power continue to climb, reports PTI.

Overall inflation, as measured on the basis of the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), has been revised to 9.04% for March from the original projection of 8.98%. The revision was carried out as metal products were not incorporated earlier due to a programming error, the Department of Economic Affairs said.

In addition, the inflation figure for February has also been revised upward to 9.54% from the provisional 8.31%.

Chief economic advisor Kaushik Basu recently said that headline inflation in April would come down to 8.5%-8.6% and the latest figures seem to affirm his prediction.

The numbers for April are also lower than the 9% average inflation projected by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the first half of this fiscal.

In its monetary policy for 2011-12, released earlier this month, the RBI said that inflationary pressure would continue to sustain for some more months before moderating to around 6% by March 2012.

Food inflation, which accounts for nearly 15% of overall WPI inflation, stood at 7.70% for the week ended 30th April.

The prices of primary articles-food, non-food articles and minerals-shot up by 12.05% on an annual basis, according to the official data released today.

Among primary articles, food items went up by 8.71%, while non-food primary articles rose by over 27%. Minerals were up by 7.41%.

Onions were cheaper by 6.37% on an annual basis, while potatoes were down by 0.54%. However, other food and non-food primary articles saw a rise in prices.

During the month, fuel and power prices went up by 13.32%, driven mainly by a 21.81% rise in petrol prices and a 11.31% jump in cooking gas (LPG) rates.

The manufactured goods group index rose by 6.18% on an annual basis. Manufactured items have the highest weight of 64.9% in the WPI.

Leather and leather products were down by 1.18%, other items saw a surge in prices.

Cotton textiles were up by 24.67% and man-made textiles became 11.65% more expensive year-on-year.

Headline inflation has been above 8% since January 2010. The apex bank has already hiked policy rates nine times since March, 2010 to tame demand and curb inflation.

In its monetary policy, the RBI had also warned against a rise in prices of core (non-food) items, especially on account of rising global commodity prices.

The government last week hiked prices of petrol by Rs5 a litre and an increase in diesel and LPG prices is also expected soon. Such a step is likely to add further pressure to the inflationary situation.

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Oil companies reduce jet fuel price by 2.9%

The reduction in ATF price has come after 14 successive hikes since October 2010, when international crude oil prices started soaring

New Delhi: In the first reduction in more than seven months, state-owned oil companies on Sunday cut jet fuel price by over 2.9% after international oil rates cooled off from their two-year high, reports PTI.

Oil companies reduced ATF (air turbine fuel) price by Rs1,766 per kilolitre (kl) or 2.9%, to Rs58,794 per kl in Delhi, an official of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) said here, adding prices are effective from midnight of Sunday.

In Mumbai, ATF price has been reduced by Rs1,827 to Rs59,602 per kl, the official said.

The reduction in ATF price has come after 14 successive hikes since October 2010, when international crude oil prices started soaring.

The ATF price in Delhi on 1 October 2010 was Rs40,728.52 per kl. The rates were increased by Rs19,831.48 per kl, or 48.7% till 30th April, when last price hike was announced.

No comment could be immediately obtained from airline companies on the impact of the price reduction on passenger fares.

Fuel cost accounts for 40% of the airlines’ operating cost and rates vary from airport to airport depending upon the local sales tax.

IOC  and its sister public sector retailers Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) revise jet fuel prices on the 1st and 16th of every month, based on the average international price in the preceding fortnight.

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