Wholesale Price Index inflation hits an all-time high of 12.94% in May

Wholesale Price Index inflation hits an all-time high of 12.94% in May

This is the fifth straight month of uptick seen within the wholesale Price index (WPI)-based inflation.

The wholesale price-based inflation accelerated to a record 12.94 per cent in May, on account of inflation of petroleum , manufactured goods and a coffee base of last year.

In May last year, WPI inflation was (-) 3.37 per cent and in April 2021, WPI inflation hit integer at 10.49 per cent.

This is the fifth straight month of uptick seen within the wholesale price level (WPI)-based inflation.

"The annual rate of inflation, supported monthly WPI, was 12.94 per cent for the month of May, 2021 (over May, 2020) as compared to (-) 3.37 per cent in May 2020.

"The high rate of inflation in May 2021 is primarily thanks to low base effect and rise in prices of crude petroleum, mineral oils viz. petrol, diesel, naphtha, furnace oil etc. and made products as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year," the Commerce and Industry Ministry said.

Inflation in fuel and power basket spiked to 37.61 per cent during May, against 20.94 per cent in April, amid hardening of worldwide commodity prices.

Prices of crude petroleum and other fuels had crashed last year in May thanks to lockdowns across the world which had caused demand to plummet.

In manufactured products, inflation stood at 10.83 per cent in May, against 9.01 per cent within the previous month.

However, inflation in food articles eased marginally to 4.31 per cent in May, whilst onion prices spiked. Inflation in onion stood at 23.24 per cent in May, against (-) 19.72 per cent in April.

ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said the core-WPI inflation (manufactured non-food products) hardened sharply to a series-high 10 per cent in May 2021, with a broad-based uptrend across most sub-sectors.

"The continued rise in global petroleum prices, a weaker rupee and therefore the upward revision in domestic fuel prices remain risk factors for the upcoming WPI print. However, we expect the headline WPI inflation to recede modestly to 11.9-12.3 per cent in June 2021, because the base starts to normalise,” Nayar added.

PHDCCI President Sanjay Aggarwal said high fuel inflation is escalating the input costs of the industry and its competitiveness within the domestic and international markets.

"At this juncture, we urge the govt to think about petroleum products within the ambit of GST to rationalize the costs and to contain the rising inflation," Aggarwal added.

ITM B-School HoD, Financial Markets, Krupesh Thakkar said though RBI won't check out these numbers too cautiously, these cost-push pressures would be seen within the Retail Inflation with a lag.

"Of course, the yearly Consumer price level (CPI) figures do depend upon its segment weightage and relative base impact, but these pressures can't be ignored," Thakkar added.

The RBI, which takes under consideration retail inflation while framing monetary policy, had earlier this month kept interest rates unchanged at record lows and committed to take care of an accommodative policy stance to support growth.

RBI pegged retail inflation at 5.1 per cent during this fiscal ending March 2022, with upside risks from higher commodity prices and re-emergence of upper supply constraints amidst the present phase of lockdowns.

Retail inflation data for May is scheduled to be released later within the day.


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