(Adds analyst comments)
NEW DELHI, March 7 (Reuters) - India's wholesale price index INWPI=ECI rose 5.02 percent in the 12 months to Feb. 23, higher than the previous week's rise of 4.89 percent, government data showed on Friday.
The rate was higher than a median forecast of 4.78 percent in a Reuters poll of analysts. It was the highest rate since June 2 last year. ---------------------------------------------------------------- - KEY POINTS:
Feb 23 Feb 19 Pct change Primary articles 228.4 225.3 +1.4 Food articles 224.9 221.2 +1.7 Manufactured products 190.3 190.2 +0.1 Fuel, power, light and lubricants 336.9 336.9 0.0
- Annual inflation for the week ended Dec. 29 was revised to 3.83 percent from 3.50 percent.
- The annual inflation rate was 6.20 percent during the corresponding week of the previous year.
- The wholesale price index stood at 219.5 points in the week ended Feb. 23.
SAUGATA BHATTACHARYA, ECONOMIST, AXIS BANK, MUMBAI: "This time it seems to have come from primary commodities, which was totally unanticipated. We had thought that this would come in from either the fuel group or the manufacturing group, which doesn't seem to have happened."
"Right now, till the next policy ... they (the central bank) will not do anything."
INDRANIL PAN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, KOTAK MAHINDRA BANK, MUMBAI:
"It's primary articles which has surprised us. We were expecting a very moderate increase in the primary articles index. I think that's the surprise element."
"From now on, we are in no position to talk of rate increases or further monetary policy tightening, so far as your growth perspectives and everything are also concerned. But it is very much clear now that we would not be looking at lower rates."
SONAL VARMA, ECONOMIST, LEHMAN BROTHERS, MUMBAI:
"Inflation has risen above 5 percent much faster than we had expected. While some price cuts announced after the budget will have a positive effect, rising food prices remain a dominant concern. We expect inflation to remain high in 2008/09 and add to the rising policy dilemma of the RBI of slowing growth and rising inflation."
D.K. JOSHI, PRINCIPAL ECONOMIST, CRISIL, MUMBAI:
"This does not come as a surprise, as pressure on prices are building up from high food and oil prices. This also strengthens RBI's stance that you cannot loosen monetary policy immediately. The pressure for inflation to head up will mount in coming weeks with monsoon holding the key, given the lack of buffer and high global food prices."
The yield on the 10-year federal bond IN079917G=CC was at 7.60 percent, one basis point higher than before the data. The partially convertible rupee INR=IN was at 40.53/54 per dollar, weaker from 40.505/515 beforehand.
LINKS: Ministry of Commerce and Industry Web site at www.eaindustry.nic.in
- In its 2008/09 budget released on Feb. 29, the government lowered some excise duties and raised the threshold for taxable income.
- The central bank has said the budget is broadly consistent with the overall objectives of growth and price stability.
- Deputy central bank governor Rakesh Mohan said after the budget that the government's statement that inflation control was a top priority was "music to my ears".
- The central bank aims to keep inflation around 5 percent for the fiscal year ending March 31.
- The wholesale price index is more closely watched than the consumer price index, which is published monthly, because it covers a higher number of products and is published weekly. (Reporting by Surojit Gupta; Editing by Charlotte Cooper)