Food inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) eased a tad to 10.15 per cent for the week ended November 13 from 10.30 per cent in the previous week, mainly owing to a drop in prices of vegetables and pulses even as other protein-rich items continued to rule dearer.
Apart from the lower prices of edibles owing to improved crop arrivals in markets throughout the country, the high base effect contributed to the slide in food inflation for the sixth straight week. The food price spiral during the like week last year stood at 15.06 per cent, as per the WPI data, and that is why the inflation figure for the November 13 week is pegged lower statistically.
According Crisil's chief economist D. K. Joshi, food inflation should be headed downward at a gradual pace from now on and be in single digit by December. “Base effect kick-in is one reason for this decline, apart from improved harvest. By December, food inflation should be in single digits. We expect overall inflation at six per cent and food [inflation] at 6-7 per cent by March-end,” he said.
On a year-on-year basis, the prices of pulses declined by 7.58 per cent, as did vegetables by 3.76 per cent, mainly owing to a sharp drop in potato prices by as much as 48.70 per cent even as onions turned dearer by 17.03 per cent.
Likewise, the protein-rich food items continued to be more expensive with the prices of egg, meat and fish up by about 23 per cent. Fruits and milk also remained costlier by 21.85 per cent and 16.90 per cent, respectively, on an annual basis.