Steep rise in prices of manufactured goods and protein-based items

High prices of manufactured goods and protein-based items such as milk, eggs, meat and fish kept the retail inflation at an elevated level of 8.83 per cent in February giving no respite to common man.

In January, the retail inflation was 7.56 per cent.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), measured by changes in retail prices, was much higher than the rate of price rise in the wholesale market during the month.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said inflation would fluctuate for a couple of months before it stabilised.

“Couple of months there will be fluctuations (in inflation) ... So I do hope that after couple of months it will stabilise,” he said.

During February, retail prices of egg, meat and fish rose by 10.62 per cent, while milk and its products turned costlier by 15.76 per cent, year-on-year.

While ‘cereals and products' reported a moderate rate of price rise at 2.40 per cent in February, pulses and products saw a rise of 4.17 per cent. Among other items, only vegetable prices saw a decline of 4.73 per cent over the February 2011 level.

“Higher CPI inflation suggests that retail prices have not fallen as much as wholesale prices. However, the pickup in February CPI inflation is largely due to food related base effects and should not be interpreted as reaccelerating price pressures,” Nomura said in a research note.

Inflation in the ‘oil and fat' category shot up by 12.76 per cent and condiment spices became costly by 8.68 per cent on an annual basis.

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