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Though a range of essential items still continue to be expensive, the rate of price rise has been falling for some time now
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday said that high inflation, primarily driven by food prices, has started spreading to the broader economy but it is likely to ease on the back of an expected moderation in food prices, reports PTI.
"Inflation is now broad-based and spreading to areas other than food, especially manufacturing, and is not just restricted to food inflation," RBI's deputy governor, Subir Gokarn, told reporters in Mumbai.
Food inflation dropped to 17.81% towards the end of February, but fuel inflation shot up due to a hike in excise and customs duty in the Budget.
While food prices are expected to moderate further in the weeks ahead, the overall inflation may hit double digits by fiscal end as manufactured and fuel prices are going to get costlier, say experts.
"Food inflation will moderate. However, other inflation like fuel and manufactured inflation will firm up, also because of low inflation last year," CRISIL's principal economist DK Joshi said. Overall inflation will reach 10% by March-end, he said.
Food inflation declined by 0.06 percentage points during the week ended 27th February from 17.9% in the previous week.
The wholesale price index (WPI) inflation rose to 8.56% in January, breaching the RBI's end-March projection of 8.5%.
Though a range of essential items still continue to be expensive, the rate of price rise has been falling for some time now. The declining trend, if sustained, would buttress the government's confidence that prices will start easing from April onwards.
On year-on-year pulses were dearer by 33.38%, slightly lower than over 35% in the previous week, while potatoes turned costlier by 22.46%. Onion rose by just 2.98%.
Overall vegetable prices shot up by 15.61%, while milk prices was up 15.31% and fruits 11.77%.
The declining trend, if sustained, would buttress the government's confidence that prices will start easing from April onwards, but a lot depends on Rabi (winter) crops, say experts.
Mr Gokarn said that food price-inflation is likely to ease moving ahead on the back of an expected good Rabi crop, although certain commodity prices may stay high.
"We are in the early part of rabi harvest and there is a growing confidence that the harvest is reasonably good, although there will be pressure on specific commodities-- overall we should see some moderation in food prices," he added.
Seafarers from India and other Asian countries have warned that they will not sail to the Gulf of Aden and Somalia, unless the threat of piracy is contained soon
Having faced numerous pirate attacks in the recent past, seafarers from India and other Asian countries have warned that they would not sail to the Gulf of Aden and Somalia, unless the threat of piracy is contained soon, reports PTI.
The National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) has taken the lead in this regard and has interacted with its counterparts in Malaysia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and other Asian countries in the interest of sailing crew.
"Discussions with the unions (of other countries) are already on. If the situation does not improve, then seafarers from labour-supplying countries will not sail to these pirate-infested places," NUSI's general secretary-cum-treasurer, Abdulgani Y Serang, told PTI in Mumbai.
NUSI has refrained from setting a deadline for this but "if things do not improve soon, then we will be forced to resort to this action," Mr Serang said.
Seafarer associations from across the globe will meet next week in Berlin to take a final decision on the issue, he said.
"Our Union is spearheading and co-coordinating an international agitation on the issue with the support of unions from India, the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ukraine, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and other labour-supplying countries," he said.
Indian crew are unsatisfied with the steps taken so far by the world authorities such as the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the Indian government and others, he said.
There are still 11 vessels with more than 200 crew members of different nationalities held by pirates in the region, he added.
SAIL and Tata Steel's e-commerce joint venture, mjunction, aims to clock transactions worth Rs50,000 crore by 2012-13 from the Rs14,393 crore recorded last fiscal
The e-commerce joint venture between State-run steelmaker Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and Tata Steel Ltd, mjunction, on Thursday said that its value of transactions may treble to Rs50,000 crore by 2012-13 as online trade is gaining momentum in India, reports PTI.
"We aim to clock transactions worth Rs50,000 crore by 2012-13. We hope to complete the current financial year with transactions of about Rs20,000 crore," mjunction's managing director and chief executive Viresh Oberoi said.
The company, which is evenly owned by the steel majors, recorded a transaction value of Rs14,393 crore in the last financial year.
It hopes that 90% of its total transactions would come from its steel and coal trading business and the rest from the business-to-consumer segment.
Keen on growing overseas, mjunction is building a war chest of about Rs100 crore for acquisitions in the procurement space, especially in Europe and America. At present, it has facilitated business transactions in South East Asian nations like Thailand.
"We are planning to create a war chest of Rs100 crore for acquisitions which will be made in the next fiscal. This will come from the promoters and our internal accruals. We are now evaluating merchant bankers who can seal such deals for us," he added.