WPI inflation eases in June as food, crude soften

Wholesale inflation eased after six months in June to 12.07% from a record 12.94% a month ago as food and fuel inflation declined, official data released Wednesday showed.

WPI inflation was -1.81% in June 2020 and the last time it eased was in December.

Food inflation decelerated to 3.09% from 4.31% in May while fuel inflation fell to 32.8% from 37.6% despite a rise in petrol and diesel prices.

“Although it remained elevated, the WPI inflation moderated from last month’s peak to 12.1% in June, with a normalising base contributing to a sharp correction in the inflation for minerals, and crude oil and natural gas, despite a rise in global commodity prices,” said Aditi Nayar, chief economist, ICRA.

Manufactured products’ inflation was 10.88% in June, against 10.83% in the trailing month with an increase in prices contributed by the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, textiles, apparel, leather, wood, chemicals, cement, basic metals and fabricated metal products.

“The high rate of inflation in June 2021, is primarily due to low base effect and rise in prices of mineral oils viz petrol, diesel (HSD), naphtha, ATF, furnace oil etc, and manufactured products like basic metal, food products, chemical products etc as compared the corresponding month of the previous year,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.

In food articles, inflation in onions rose 64.32% compared with 23.24% in the previous month.

Core inflation hardened further to 10.4% in June 2021 from 10% in May.

“In the coming months, while base effects remain favourable, strong sequential momentum will likely keep WPI somewhat elevated,” said Rahul Bajoria, Chief India Economist, Barclays.

Nayar said the headline WPI inflation is expected to continue to soften, while remaining in double-digits in the second quarter of FY22.

“While not a central driver, the continuing double-digit WPI inflation and its potential future spillovers into the CPI inflation, will inject uneasiness into the tone of monetary policy,” Nayar said.

Retail inflation remained above the RBI’s comfort level of 6% for the second straight month at 6.26% in June, data released earlier this week showed.

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