Inflation based on the wholesale price index slowed down in March to 2.47% from 2.48% in February, government data said on Monday. In the same month past year, the WPI inflation was 5.11 per cent.
Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA, said a downturn in food and mineral prices helped to offset the unfavourable base effect and keep the wholesale inflation steady at 2.47 per cent in March 2018.
Deflation in vegetables stood at 2.70 per cent, pulses at 20.58 per cent and wheat at 1.19 per cent last month.
Inflation in onion continued to stay high at 42.22 per cent and in potato at 43.25 per cent.
Mr Brown highlighted BRC Shop Price Index data, which showed food prices dropping at their fastest rate in 18 months in March, which could have a larger impact on the inflation figure alongside fuel costs. Inflation in the fuel and power basket, however, rose to 4.70 per cent in March from 3.81 per cent in February.
According to the Commerce Ministry data, the WPI inflation in March 2017 was more than double at 5.11 percent.
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"Unlike the retail inflation which dipped by 16bps in March 2018 over the previous month, the wholesale inflation remained flat".
Primary food articles recorded a year-on-year (YOY) disinflation after a gap of eight months in March 2018, dampened by a YoY contraction in all of the major categories (namely vegetables, cereals, pulses, eggs, meat and fish, other food articles, and condiments and spices) except for fruits and milk, she said.
However, he said that core inflation dropped to 3.5 per cent in March 2018 from 3.9 per cent in February 2018. However, the March 2018 inflation is higher than 3.89 per cent recorded in the same month previous year.
The inflation data for January was revised upwards to 3.02 per cent from the provisional estimate of 2.84 per cent.
In its first monetary policy review for 2018-19, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) earlier this month maintained status quo on interest rate citing inflationary concerns.
It revised downwards its forecast for retail inflation, to 4.7-5.1 percent for the April-September period and 4.4 percent for the October-March period.
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