WPI inflation hits 4-month high of 14.55% in March
New Delhi: The wholesale price-based inflation spiked to a four-month high of 14.55 per cent in March on rising prices of crude oil and other commodities due to disruption in global supply chain in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, a development that may prompt the RBI to raise interest rates to contain price rise.
In February, WPI Inflation was at 13.11 per cent, while in March last year, it was 7.89 per cent. WPI inflation has remained in double digits for the 12th consecutive month since April 2021. In November 2021, it had touched a high of 14.87 per cent.
The data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry on Monday, showed that crude oil prices were the biggest contributor to the rise in WPI inflation in March 2022, relative to February, followed by fuels and core items.
Food articles witnessed some softening month-on-month led by vegetables and pulses, even though wheat, paddy, potato, milk, egg, meat and the fish basket saw moderate increases during March.
During March, inflation in food articles eased to 8.06 per cent, from 8.19 per cent in February. Vegetable inflation was 19.88 per cent in the month under review, as against 26.93 per cent in February.
"The high rate of inflation in March, 2022 is primarily due to rise in prices of crude petroleum and natural gas, mineral oils, basic metals, etc owing to disruption in the global supply chain caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict," the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement.
Inflation in manufactured items was 10.71 per cent in March, as against 9.84 per cent in February. In the fuel and power basket, the rate of price rise was 34.52 per cent during the month under review, against 31.50 per cent in February.
Oil companies had begun to pass on the high import cost of global crude oil prices by hiking domestic petrol and diesel prices from March 22 — ending a four-and-half-month-long hiatus. Besides, domestic cooking gas (LPG) prices were hiked during the month.
India is dependent on imports to meet 85 per cent of its oil needs and so retail rates adjust accordingly to the global movement.
In March, inflation in crude petroleum spiked to 83.56 per cent, from 55.17 per cent during February.
Crude oil prices had mostly been on rise in March, after Russia started the invasion of Ukraine on February 24.