'Inflation to decline by March if oil prices soften'

Manmohan Singh
New Delhi, June 30: Concerned over price rise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, Jun 29 said inflation will come down to 6.5 per cent by March-end if the international oil prices soften and commodity prices do not rise further.

"I have reasons to believe if oil price soften and commodity prices remain where they are, we should be able to bring down inflation to 6.5 per cent by end of March," he said in an interaction with a group of editors here.

Inflation now is hovering around 9 per cent, much above the Reserve Bank's comfort level of 5-6 per cent. With the recent hike in prices of petroleum products, the rate of price rise could enter the double-digit zone.

Pointing out that the government did not have a magic wand to bring down prices of international commodities, Singh said, "Inflation is a global problem. China's rate of inflation has gone up sharply." The oil prices have started going up and had crossed USD 100 to a barrel in the backdrop of political turmoil in the Middle-East.

"We did not anticipate that Middle-East will be in turmoil, that there will be increase in fuel prices and commodities. We have no control on this and there is no magic wand to bring down prices of international commodities," Singh said.

Talking of the food security system, he said agriculture is in good shape and "we have today all-time high stock of foodgrains... we have at long last means to reach out to large number of people". 


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