New Delhi, Nov 14 : Headline inflation hovered stubbornly near the double-digit mark in October, rising marginally to 9.73 per cent as prices of food products, fuel and manufactured goods put more pressure on the common man's pocket and major sectors of the economy.
Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), stood at 9.72 per cent in September. The rate of price stood at 9.08 per cent in October, 2010.
On an annual basis, food items became 11.06 per cent more expensive year-on-year during the month under review. Food inflation was recorded at 9.23 per cent in September.
Vegetables grew 21.76 per cent costlier on an annual basis, while fruit prices were up by 11.96 per cent and milk by 11.12 per cent during the month. Eggs, meat and fish witnessed 12.59 per cent inflation during October, 2011.Inflation in overall primary articles stood at 11.40 per cent in October, compared to 11.84 per cent in September.
Non-food primary articles, which include fibres, oil seeds and minerals, grew dearer by 7.71 per cent in October, as compared to a 14.82 per cent rise in the previous month.
Prices of manufactured products, which have a weight of around 65 per cent in the WPI basket, went up by 7.66 per cent year-on-year in October, as against 7.69 per cent in September.
Inflation in manufactured items has been high since February this year, when it crossed the 6 per cent-mark.Experts said stubborn inflation will put pressure on the government and the RBI at a time when the latest data shows growth in industrial output plunged to a two-year low of 1.9 per cent in September.
Among manufactured items, iron and semis grew dearer by 21.67 per cent, edible oil prices rose by 13.09 per cent, the cost of tobacco products moved up by 12.53 per cent and cotton textiles became 10.80 per cent more expensive.
Inflation in the fuel and power segment stood at 14.79 per cent on an annual basis in October, as against 14.09 per cent in the previous month.The spill-over of the over Rs 3 per litre hike in petrol prices by oil marketing companies in mid-September seems to have been reflected in the numbers.This is the 11th consecutive month when inflation has been above the 9 per cent-mark.
Elevated inflation levels close to double digits are likely to put pressure on the RBI to look for alternative policy options to bring the price situation under control. The apex bank has already said that another rate hike at its next mid-quarterly policy review in early December is unlikely.
The apex bank has already hiked key policy rates 13 times since March, 2010, to tame inflation.India Inc has said the string of rate hikes, which have raised the cost of borrowing, have acted as a dampener to fresh investment and hindered growth.
Growth in industrial production fell to a two-year low of 1.9 per cent in September. Economic growth in the April-June period stood at 7.7 per cent, the slowest expansion rate in the past six quarters.At its second quarterly review last month, the RBI said it expects inflation to start moderating by December and fall to 7 per cent by March, 2012.