Food inflation inched up a tad to 16.49 per cent for the week ended May 8 from 16.44 per cent in the previous week to display a near flat movement, a trend that is expected to persist until there are clear indications of the advent of a normal monsoon.

According to economic analysts, a definite downtrend in annual WPI (Wholesale Price Index) based food inflation will come about only later during the fiscal year when a normal monsoon precipitation is seen as having a positive impact on standing kharif crops. However, a major concern in the coming weeks would be the added inflationary pressure on account of the hike in prices of non-food articles following the Cabinet decision to increase prices of natural gas. With the government more than doubling the price of natural gas to $4.20 per million British thermal unit, gas-based power as well as public transportation is expected to cost more and thereby add to overall inflation.

On the food front, the scorching summer appears to be adding to the cost of management of perishables. As a result, on a week-on-week basis, vegetables turned dearer by 2.41 per cent, with onion prices going up by 5.73 per cent, potatoes by 0.95 per cent and fruits by 0.41 per cent.

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