Economy

Wholesale inflation softens marginally to 2.47% as food items turn cheaper

Wholesale inflation softens marginally to 2.47% as food items turn cheaper

ANZ Bank New Zealand economists said the fees-free first-year tertiary education policy broadly offset any inflationary pressure coming from the usual annual increase in tobacco excise duty, with a 4 per cent fall in the education group instead of its typical first quarter rise.

"We suspect that these factors will mean that we see another step-down in CPI inflation in March such that it falls to a one-year low of 2.5 per cent".

Mr Brown highlighted BRC Shop Price Index data, which showed food prices dropping at their fastest rate in 18 months in March, which could have a larger impact on the inflation figure alongside fuel costs. Deflation in pulses was 20.58 per cent, in vegetables (2.70 per cent), wheat (1.19 per cent) and egg, meat and fish (0.82 per cent) in March. In the same month previous year, the WPI inflation was 5.11 per cent.

"The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 2.47 per cent (provisional) for March 2018 (over March 2017) as compared to 2.48 per cent (provisional) for the previous month and 5.11 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year", the commerce ministry said in its report.

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The index for "food articles" group declined by 0.4 per cent to 137.2 from 137.8 for the previous month, despite a price rise in items like ragi, jowar, peas/chawali, moong and paddy, among others. However, the price of raw silk, mesta and hides, sunflower, soyabean, fodder, raw wool, coir fibre and raw rubber all moved up. The index for fuel and power (weight 13.15 per cent) also declined by 0.1 per cent to 98.0 from 98.1 for the previous month due to lower price of LPG, naphtha, HSD, bitumen, petrol and furnace oil. The index for electricity group rose by 2.9 per cent to 105.4 (provisional) from 102.4 (provisional) due to higher price of electricity (3 per cent).

Meanwhile, the index for "Minerals" group declined by 2 percent to 119.7 from 122.2 for the previous month due to lower price of copper concentrate and phosphorite.

On April 12, the data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that lower food prices eased March retail inflation to 4.28 per cent from 4.44 per cent in February 2018. However, the March 2018 inflation is higher than 3.89 per cent recorded in the same month a year ago.


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