Inflation surges to 16-year high of 12.44%, food and fuel add fire

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New Delhi, Aug 14 (UNI) The headline inflation rate for the week ended August 2 surged to a 16 year high figure of 12.44 per cent against 12.01 per cent for the previous week, primarily on account of higher prices of food and fuel items, with the Finance Ministry describing the hefty increase as a "major disappointment".

The index for the major group 'Primary Articles' rose by 0.6 per cent, but for the other major group 'Manufactured Products' declined by 0.05 per cent.

The other sub-groups which showed an upward movement include; food articles 0.9 per cent; non-food articles 0.2 per cent; textiles 0.1 per cent, rubber and plastics 0.3 per cent, chemicals and chemical products rose marginally and machinery and machine tools by 0.2 per cent.

The sub-group 'food products' showed a decline 0.5 per cent.

The major contributor to the increase in index was fuel,power, light and lubricants which rose by 0.9 per cent, According to the data released by the Commerce and Industry Ministry here, the annual rate of inflation, calculated on point-to-point basis, stood at 4.39 per cent as against 4 per cent on August 4, 2007.

''After being nearly stable for four weeks, this rise has come as a major disappointment,'' the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The Wholesale Price Index for 'All Commodities' for the week ended August 2 rose by 0.3 per cent to 240.4 (Provisional) from 239.6 (Provisional) for the previous week.

In the 'Food Articles' group the items which showed an increase is as follows: moong, condiments and spices and urad (three per cent each), fruits and vegetables, jowar and fish-marine (two per cent each) and masur, tea, bajra and arhar (one per cen each).

Some of the items in the 'Non-Food Articles' group which showed an increase are : raw tobacco, linseed and cotton seed (one per cent each).

However, the prices of gingelly seed displayed a decline of three per cent and raw wool declined by one per cent.

In the fuel group the increase in certain items was quite remakable; light diesel oil 16 per cent, bitumen and furnace oil eight per cent each and aviation turbine fuel three per cent.

However, the prices of naphtha declined by two per cent.

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