India’s wholesale inflation slips into negative territory in April

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New Delhi : India’s wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation fell into the negative zone in April 2023. 

The annual rate of WPI inflation dropped to (-) 0.92% in April from 1.34% recorded in March, 2023, showed the data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Monday.

“Decline in the rate of inflation in April, 2023 is primarily contributed by fall in prices of basic metals, food products, mineral oils, textiles, non-food articles, chemical & chemical products, rubber & plastic products and paper & paper products,” a media release said.

The data released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) last Friday showed retail inflation declined to an 18-month low of 4.70% in April primarily on the back of softening food prices.

Both wholesale and retail inflation have been on a declining trend for the past several months.

“The fall in wholesale inflation is a big positive ahead of the onset of the monsoon season. As we advance, a good monsoon season will help to keep WPI inflation constant, however, a rise in oil prices could threaten both wholesale and retail inflation. The current set of data will help the central bank to stay on an extended pause with a possibility of rate easing from CY24,” said Dheer Shah, CFO, BDR Pharma.

The WPI captures the average movement of wholesale prices of goods and is primarily used as a GDP deflator. It reckons only basic prices and does not include taxes, rebate/trade discounts, transport and other charges.

In a bid to contain high inflation the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been hiking policy repo rate since May last year. The central bank, however, hit the pause button last month given the cooling of the overall price level.