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Soaring milk, fruit prices keep food inflation high

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) India’s food inflation continued to remain high and was ruling at 12.47 percent for the week ended July 10 against 12.81 percent for the week before as prices of milk, fruits, condiments, spices, chicken and fish moved higher.

According to data on the official wholesale price index released by the commerce and industry ministry Thursday, the sub-index for food articles rose 0.6 percent during the week, keeping the point-to-point inflation at double-digit levels.

The fresh data comes against the backdrop of the government warning that prices of pulses will remain high given their huge demand and limited supply, even as headline inflation would ease to 5-6 percent by December.

‘As far pulses are concerned, their prices are going to be problematic,’ Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar told reporters on the margins of a briefing organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here Wednesday.

After dropping for two straight weeks, India’s annual food inflation rose to 12.81 percent for the week ended July 3, while the overall inflation stood at 10.55 percent in June.

Following are the rise and fall in prices of some of the main commodities that form the sub-index for food articles over the past 52 weeks:

Cereals: 5.87 percent

Rice: 6.2 percent

Wheat: 5.81 percent

Pulses: 23.79 percent

Vegetables: (-)9.92 percent

Fruits: 10.02 percent

Milk: 17.33 percent

Potatoes: (-)45.04 percent

Onions: (-)7.86 percent

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also voiced concern about the high rate of inflation, saying it is no longer confined to food items and hoped that it would moderate after the monsoon season.

‘Up to April-May it was food items which contributed significantly. In December it went up to as high as 20 percent. Gradually it has come down 14 to 15 percent,’ he said in Hyderabad Tuesday.

‘I hope average annual inflation will be moderate and the impact will be felt after the monsoon season is over,’ he said, adding that the government was seeking to bridge the gap in demand and supply of pulses, which had risen to around four-five million tonnes.

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