The wholesale price-based inflation eased to a 29-month low of 1.34 per cent in March on easing prices of manufactured products and fuel items, even though food articles turned costly.
March is the 10th straight month when wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation has declined.
The inflation was 3.85 per cent in February and 14.63 per cent in March 2022.
Inflation in food articles, however, rose to 5.48 per cent in March as against 3.81 per cent in February.
“Decline in the rate of inflation in March 2023 is primarily contributed by fall in prices of basic metals, food products, textiles, non-food articles, minerals, rubber & plastic products, crude petroleum & natural gas and paper and paper products,” the commerce and industry ministry said on Monday.
Inflation in wheat and pulses was 9.16 per cent and 3.03 per cent, respectively while in vegetables it was (-)2.22 per cent. Inflation in oilseeds was (-)15.05 per cent in March 2023.
Fuel and power basket inflation eased to 8.96 per cent last month from 14.82 per cent in February. In manufactured products, inflation was (-)0.77 per cent as against 1.94 per cent.
The deceleration in WPI comes in line with the easing of March retail inflation.
Consumer price index based retail inflation declined to a 15-month low of 5.66 per cent in March from 6.44 per cent in February.
In its monetary policy review earlier this month, the RBI cautioned that adverse climatic conditions are a risk to the future inflation trajectory and predicted milk prices to remain firm going into the summer due to tight demand-supply situation and fodder cost pressure.
The central bank also paused the interest rate hike, holding the benchmark rate at 6.50 per cent. It projected retail inflation to average 5.2 per cent in current fiscal year.