In a fresh spurt, despite the recent monetary and other measures to contain the price spiral, food inflation surged further to 12.21 per cent for the week ended October 22 from 11.43 per cent in the previous week owing to soaring prices of various edibles such as vegetables, fruits, pulses, milk and all other protein-rich items.

Expressing “grave concern” over the “dangerously” high level of food inflation, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee hoped that prices would start easing by the end of this year as the recent spike was on account of increased demand during the festive season.

Commenting on the latest WPI (wholesale price index) data here, Mr. Mukherjee said: “Food inflation is still going high. It is dangerously above [the] double-digit figure…This [high food inflation] is the effect of the festive season. November onward, the trend for the remaining four months [of current fiscal year] would be available”.

The October 22 food inflation data reveals a surge by nearly one percentage point over a seven-day period and is perilously close to the last year's same week figure of 13.55 per cent. The Finance Minister's observation implies that he expects the food inflation numbers from November onwards to perhaps touch the previous year's peak and thereafter start declining to more tolerable levels.

As of now, the WPI data released on Thursday show that prices of vegetables during the week were higher by 28.89 per cent on a year-on-year basis while pulses turned dearer by 11.65 per cent, fruits by 11.63 per cent and milk by 11.73 per cent. Alongside, eggs, meat and fish were also more expensive by 13.36 per cent while prices of even cereals were 4.13 higher on a yearly basis. The only edibles that turned cheaper as compared to last year were onions by 20.33 per cent and wheat by 1.54 per cent, which provided hardly any relief to the common man.

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