Inflation likely to ease by year-end: Survey

New Delhi:  India’s wholesale as well as retail inflation is likely to decline by the end of this year, a government survey said Wednesday. However, it warned that prices may spike if the monsoon remains sub-normal.

The Economic Survey 2013-14 presented in parliament by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said both the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation have declined in the past two financial years and the trend is expected to continue.

“The WPI inflation is expected to moderate by the end of 2014,” the survey released a day ahead of the national budget said.

However, there are risks to the outlook for inflation from a possible sub-normal monsoon during 2014-15 as predicted by the India Meteorological Department on account of the El-Nino effect, a possible step up in the pass-through of international crude oil prices and exchange rate volatility, it added.

According to the survey, the average wholesale price-based inflation fell to a three-year low of 5.98 percent in the financial year ended March 31, 2014 as against 7 percent and 9 percent posted in the previous two years respectively.

Consumer price-based inflation, though higher than the WPI, has also exhibited signs of moderation. It declined from 10.21 percent in 2012-13 to about 9.49 percent in 2013-14.

Food inflation, however, remained stubbornly high during the financial year 2013-14, reaching a peak of 11.95 percent in the third quarter.

“High inflation, particularly food inflation, was the result of structural as well as seasonal factors. Contribution of the commodity sub-groups, ‘fruits and vegetables’, as well as ‘egg, meat and fish’ to the food inflation has been very high,” the survey report said.

Inflation in non-food manufactured product (WPI core) has remained benign throughout the year, with average inflation moderated to a four year low of 2.9 percent in 2013-14, which indicates that underlying pressures of broad-based inflation have somewhat eased.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that most global commodity prices are expected to remain flat during 2014-15, which augurs well for inflation in emerging markets and developing countries including India, the report said.

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Free Press Journal