India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices shot up to 3.55 per cent for July from 1.62 per cent in the previous month, due to an 11.82 per cent jump in prices of food articles, official data showed on Tuesday.
The prices of potatoes continued to pinch with an annual rise of 58.78 per cent, pulses were dearer by 35.76 per cent, while fruit were 17.30 per cent costlier over the same month of the previous year, as per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data of the Commerce Ministry.
Data released last week showed that the country’s annual retail inflation shot up to a 23-month high of 6.07 per cent for July and beyond the official tolerance level of 6 per cent, again due to higher prices for food articles.
The July WPI index at 3.55 per cent marks a two-year high. After rising for the first time in April following 17 straight months of contraction, the WPI has cumulatively risen by 4.91 per cent in the current fiscal up to July. The rise was 0.85 per cent for the corresponding period last year.
Inflation in vegetables prices during July rose to 28.05 per cent, up from 16.91 per cent in June.
Prices of manufactured products, which comprise nearly 65 per cent of the index, continued to rise for the fifth straight month, rising by 1.82 per cent in July. The prices had risen by 1.17 per cent in June.
The sub-category of manufactured food products, which includes sugar and edible oils, registered a significant rise of 10.19 per cent, up from 8.35 per cent in the previous month.
This was mainly caused by a spurt in sugar prices, which rose by 32.33 per cent, as against 26.09 per cent in the previous month, as a result of production shortages.
Fuel inflation remained negative in July, going down by one per cent as compared to a 3.62 per cent fall in June and 6.14 per cent in May due to fall in crude oil prices.
However, diesel prices continued to rise after seeing an uptrend in June after many months of consecutive fall. Prices of high-speed diesel rose by 6.57 per cent in July, from a 1.13 per cent rise in June.
In this connection, industry chamber Assocham said on Sunday on the basis of its study that prices of vegetables in India’s retail markets are likely to go up further in the coming months with the peak production season coming to an end.
The report said there would be “more pressure on the market arrivals of vegetables as production season eases”, on the basis of a “most worrying” trend that saw vegetable prices rising up to 100 per cent in the April-July period due to low arrivals of the harvest in the markets.
“There is a huge gap between retail and wholesale prices of vegetables. On an all-India average basis, retailers are selling at more than 52.7 per cent of wholesale prices,” Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat said in a statement here.
At the retail level, potato prices increased by about 100 per cent during the April-July period, over the corresponding period of 2015, followed by cabbage (49.3 per cent), chillies (47.8 per cent), garlic (37 per cent), cauliflower (33.9 per cent), tomato local (26 per cent), tomato hybrid (25.6 per cent), potato fresh (25 per cent), okra (22.3 per cent) and brinjal (20.8 per cent).
“It indicates a worrying situation where market arrivals of vegetables have recorded contraction despite being a peak season for production,” the report said.
The gap between wholesale and retail prices is as much as over 75 per cent in some cases like brinjal and over 62 per cent for tomatoes, it added.