Inflation likely at 6.5 pc this fiscal end Chawla

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New Delhi, Jan 17 (PTI) The Finance Ministry todaysaid inflation will come down to around 6.5 per cent byMarch-end, from 8.43 pc in December.

"It will be around 6.5 per cent by March end," FinanceSecretary Ashok Chawla told reporters here.

The finance secretary''s remarks came even as expensivefood items jacked up overall inflation, measured on the basisof wholesale prices, to 8.43 per cent in December from 7.48per cent in November.

Also, the government''s move to raise petrol pricesis expected to fuel inflation.

"Six months ago we may have said inflation will be5.5-6 per cent (by March end). Since it is always a dynamicprocess, today nobody is saying because the trend has notreally gone down," Chawla said.

He, however, added that inflation is coming down.

The wholesale price rise in December has also promptedthe Prime Minister''s Economic Panel to further revise upwardthe March-end inflation forecast to up to seven per cent from6.5 per cent estimated earlier.

Food inflation has also remained high through December,touching the year high level of 18.32 per cent. It finallyeased somewhat for the week ended January 1 to 16.91 per cent.

The government, recently, unveiled measures to checkspiralling prices by deciding to continue ban on exports ofedible oils, pulses and non-basmati rice and asked states towaive local taxes on essential commodities.

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