Fruit, vegetable prices push March retail inflation to 8.31 pc

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Retail inflation in March inched up to 8.31 per cent from 8.03 in February, mainly on account of a rise in fruit and vegetable prices.

"Provisional annual inflation rate based on all India general Consumer Price Index (Combined) for March 2014 on point to point basis (over March 2013) is 8.31 per cent as compared to 8.03 per cent for February 2014," the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said in a statement today.

The corresponding provisional inflation rates for rural and urban areas for March were 8.89 per cent and 7.51 per cent, respectively. Inflation rates (final) for rural and urban areas for February were 8.43 per cent and 7.55 per cent, respectively.

Overall inflation in the food basket, including beverages, increased to 9.1 per cent in March from 8.57 per cent in the previous month, according to Consumer Price Index (CPI) data released by the CSO today.

Vegetable prices increased 16.8 per cent in March as against a 14.04 per cent rise in February. The prices of fruits rose 17.19 per cent compared with a 15.79 per cent increase in February.

Retail or consumer inflation in protein-rich items such as eggs, fish and meat eased to 9.54 per cent in March from 9.69 per cent in February.

The rate of price rise for cereals and related products slowed to 9.61 per cent in March from 9.93 per cent.

However, the price of milk and its products increased 11.02 per cent in March compared with 10.37 per cent in the previous month.

Prices of condiments and spices rose 8.87 per cent from 8.48 per cent in February.

Retail inflation has been easing for three months since December 2013.

Government data earlier today showed inflation as measured by the wholesale price index rose to a three-month high of 5.7 per cent in March, mainly due to a spurt in prices of food items such as potato, onion and fruits.

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