Close on the heels of the WPI (wholesale price index) numbers indicating an uptrend in food prices, official data at the retail level released on Friday confirmed a fresh bout of rising prices, which the consumer will have to bear for some months to come.

As per the CPI (consumer price index) data, retail inflation breached the double-digit mark at 10.32 per cent in April, primarily owing to a surge in prices of vegetable, milk, edible oils and protein-based items.

The nearly one percentage point spurt — as compared to the CPI inflation figure revised down to 9.38 per cent from the provisional estimate of 9.47 per cent for March — during the first month of the current fiscal year does not augur well on two counts.

First, it is just the beginning of the summer season when fodder prices will tend to rise and lead to a further hike in milk and meat prices. And, as for edible oils, with the rupee in a depreciation mode, imported edible oils will cost more.

In keeping with the WPI inflation data trend, the retail inflation figures also show that the surge in prices of vegetables was the greatest at 24.55 per cent in April year-on-year. This was followed by edible oils, the prices of which soared by 17.63 per cent with milk products next in line with a 14.94 per cent increase in prices during the month.

As for the protein-rich items such as eggs, meat and fish, the year-on-year increase in prices was at 9.95 per cent.

However, prices of cereals went up by a much smaller margin of 3.94 per cent during the month. Alongside, sugar turned dearer by 4.32 per cent in April at the retail level while pulses were costlier 6.03 per cent as compared to the same month of 2011.

According to the CPI data, inflation rates for rural and urban areas were estimated at 9.86 per cent and 11.10 per cent, respectively, for April while the revised figures for the two segments for March stand pegged at 8.70 per cent and 10.30 per cent, respectively.


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