New Delhi: The wholesale price-based inflation (WPI) accelerated to a record 12.94 per cent in May, on account of rising prices of crude oil, manufactured goods and a low base of last year. In May last year, WPI inflation was (-) 3.37 per cent and in April 2021, WPI inflation hit double digits at 10.49 per cent. This is the fifth straight month of uptick seen in the wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation.
“The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, was 12.94 per cent for the month of May, 2021 (over May, 2020) as compared to (-) 3.37 per cent in May 2020. The high rate of inflation in May 2021 is primarily due to low base effect and rise in prices of crude petroleum, mineral oils viz. Petrol, diesel, naphtha, furnace oil etc. And manufactured products as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year,” the Commerce and Industry Ministry said in a statement.
Inflation in fuel and power basket spiked to 37.61 per cent during May, against 20.94 per cent in April, amid hardening of global commodity prices.
Prices of crude petroleum and other fuels had crashed last year in May due to lockdowns across the globe which had caused demand to plummet. In manufactured products, inflation stood at 10.83 per cent in May, against 9.01 per cent in the previous month.
However, inflation in food articles eased marginally to 4.31 per cent in May even as onion prices spiked. Inflation in onion stood at 23.24 per cent in May, against (-) 19.72 per cent in April.
ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said the core-WPI inflation (manufactured non-food products) hardened sharply to a series-high 10 per cent in May 2021, with a broad-based uptrend across most sub-sectors.
“The continued rise in global crude oil prices, a weaker rupee and the upward revision in domestic fuel prices remain risk factors for the upcoming WPI print. However, we expect the headline WPI inflation to recede modestly to 11.9-12.3 per cent in June 2021, as the base starts to normalise,” Nayar informed.