Fuel price hike to push inflation into double-digit: PMEAC

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New Delhi, Jun 26: Describing the government's decision to raise prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene as inevitable, the Prime Minister's economic advisor today said that it would push inflation into the double-digit zone.

"Due to the hike, inflation could be close to 10 per cent by July," Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) Chairman C Rangarajan said.

However, he added, the inflation numbers would subside after the initial surge. "I do expect that after initial correction, inflation will come down to 6.5 per cent by March 2012," Rangarajan said.

The decision to raise fuel prices, he said, was inevitable in view of the rising crude prices in the global market and its impact on the fiscal deficit. "Since correction was needed in order to contain fiscal deficit, the move is welcome."

On June 24, the government hiked the price of diesel by Rs 3 a litre, kerosene - Rs 2 a litre and cooking gas by a steep Rs 50 a cylinder. This followed the hike of over Rs 5 per litre on petrol announced by oil marketing companies in mid-May.

The overall inflation was 9.06 per cent in May, up from 8.66 per cent in April. The Reserve Bank had recently said that it expects inflationary pressure to remain high, at an average of 9 per cent till September on account of high global commodity prices.

The PMEAC chief's views found support from other experts and economists.

"Going ahead, the rate hike will adversely affect the inflation situation. While we expect inflation numbers in June to remain above 9 per cent, the real pinch would be felt in July when it may even touch double-digit," Deloitte, Haskin

PTI

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