Retail prices of wheat, edible oils and tomato have witnessed sharpest spike in the last one year while the rates of pulses such as chana and tur have declined.
Traders say that factors such as heat waves during March-April have adversely impacted the yield of wheat and tomato, thus pushing up prices while global spike in rates of edible oils — soyabean, palm and sunflower — have an impact on domestic prices.
According to department of consumer affairs, retail prices of wheat have increased by more than 13% to Rs 30 a kg compared to year-ago period. However, rice prices have witnessed a moderate increase of around 1.7% to Rs 36 a kg.
Because of a 3% decline in production of wheat in current crop year (2021-22) to 106.41 million tonne (MT) compared to 109.59 MT in 2020-21, the government had to impose ban on wheat exports last month for improving domestic supplies.
Retail prices of edible oils, especially palm and sunflower, have increased by 16% and 11% to Rs 156 and Rs 192 a litre at present from year-ago period. Prices of domestically grown mustard and groundnut oil have increased by 7% and 4% to Rs 182 and Rs 187 a litre, respectively.
India imports about 55-56% of its total domestic requirement of edible oils.
Global prices of palm and sunflower oils have witnessed an increase of 36% and 32%, respectively in the last one year.
The edible oil and fat category saw inflation at 17.28% in April 2022, mostly contributed by sharp spikes in domestic prices of edible oil in the last one year.
In case of key vegetables such as tomato and potato, retail price increase has been 163% and 23% to Rs 52 and Rs 24 a kg, respectively at present in comparison to year-ago period.
RBI governor Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday said the upside risk to inflation persists and the recent spike in tomato prices would fuel food inflation.
Retail food inflation remained above the headline print for the second straight month in April at 8.1%.
According to mandi officials in Kolar, Karnataka, a hub of tomato trade, prices are expected to remain firm in the next couple of weeks before commencing a decline in the middle of June, once crop from Maharashtra enters the market.
In case of onion, retail prices at present have declined by more than 7.5% to Rs 24 a kg compared to previous year. Tomato, onion and potato have weightage of 0.6%, 0.6% and 1% in CPI inflation, respectively.
However, in case of key pulses such a chana (gram) and tur, which constitute about 65% of the country’s output, there has been a decline in retail prices in last one year. According to traders liberalised tur import and bumper chana production have resulted in decline in prices by around 4% for both the varieties of pulses in last one year.