WPI inflation in Feb at (-)0.91 per cent, falls for 16th straight month

Wholesale price inflation remained in the negative zone for 16 months in a row, touching -0.91% in February, against -0.90% in the previous month, showed the official data released on Monday. The year-on-year wholesale price index-based (WPI-based) inflation for December was also revised to -1.06% from 0.73% announced earlier.

Although a deflation in manufactured and fuel products narrowed in February, compared with the previous month, a fall in primary food inflation helped keep the WPI inflation almost the the January level.

Food inflation dropped to 3.35% in February, against 6.02% in the previous month. Inflation in pulses moderated to 38.84% from 44.91% in January, marking a third straight month of decline, and vegetable inflation, too, dropped to -3.34% in February from 12.52% in the previous month. The dip in food inflation was also aided by the fact that onion inflation dropped sharply to -13.22% in February, against 5.5% in the previous month.

Inflation in fuel and power touched -6.40% in February, compared with -9.21% a month before, while manufactured product inflation hit -0.58%, against -1.17% in January.

While the protracted bout of fall in the wholesale price index has been offering some welcome respite to consumers, producers’ pricing power still remains severely dented, mainly due to a commodity crash globally.