Finmin plays down inflation rate at 11.91%, common man spared

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New Delhi, Jul 17 (UNI) The government today downplayed inflation rate touching a 13-year-high of 11.91 per cent, saying Wholesale Price Index (WPI) on a week-on-week basis has "stabilised," prices of essential commodities too have "more or less stabilised," the index for 'Primary Articles' Group has declined and a large of number of manufactured products have moved downwards.

The Group which fuelled the Index related to 'Fuel, Power and Light.' The group registered a hike of 0.5 per cent.

An official statement, however, noted that there was a decline in the prices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The Finance Ministry attributed the increase in the Group Index to increase in prices of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF), increase in prices of furnace oil, light diesel oil and nafta and said these were driven by international crude prices.

The statement said the WPI moved up only marginally from 238.1 in the week ending June 28, 2008 to 238.7 in the week ending July 5, 2008. The WPI was only "very marginally" higher than the rate of 11.89 per cent.

Regarding 'Primary Articles' group, the government said out of a total of 98 articles, 13 articles have shown a decline in prices as compared to June 28, 2008. These include rice, jowar, onion, brinjal, black pepper, okra, barley, groundnut seed, gram and banana.

Besides, 57 articles in the Group have shown no increase in prices.

In the case of 'manufactured products' Group, it said out of a total 320 commodities, 281 have shown no increase in prices over the last week. In the case of 12 commodities there was indeed a decline in prices.

The Ministry listed the commodities under the manufactured products group where the prices have declined. These include salt, sugar, other iron and steel, lead ingots, zinc ingots, groundnut oil, deoiled cake, bran, liquid chlorine and caustic soda.

The statement then went on to touch what affects the common man most, namely essential commodities.

It said for the group of 30 essential commodities, inflation rate has declined to 5.74 from 5.98 per cent reported for the week ending June 28, 2008.

The prices of these essential commodities which have 'more or less' stabilised include food grains, pulses, edible oils, vegetables, dairy products and some other commodities including kerosene, soap and safety matches.

UNI SG/GS MP NS1853

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