India's Nov WPI inflation rises to record high of over 14% (Roundup)

December 15,2021

Higher prices of commodities, food items and fuels lifted India's November wholesale inflation on both sequential and year-on-year basis.

Accordingly, the annual rate of inflation, based on wholesale prices, rose to a new record high of 14.23 per cent last month from 12.54 per cent in October.

Similarly, on a YoY basis, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has risen exponentially over November 2020, when it stood at 2.29 per cent.

"The high rate of inflation in November 2021 is primarily due to rise in prices of mineral oils, basic metals, crude petroleum and natural gas, chemicals and chemical products, food products etc., as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year," the ministry said in its review of 'Index Numbers of Wholesale Price in India' for November.

As per the data, the primary articles segment, which has one of the highest weightage in the WPI, increased at a faster rate of 10.34 per cent in November as compared to 5.20 per cent reported for October 2021.

In the fuel and power segment, which has a weightage of 13.15 per cent, the rise in inflation was recorded at 39.81 per cent from 37.18 per cent in October 2021.

However, the cost of manufactured products, which has a weightage of 64.23 per cent, rose at a lower rate of 11.92 per cent from 12.04 per cent in October.

Similarly, the growth rate of WPI food index consisting of food articles from the primary articles group and food products from the manufactured products group rose to 6.70 per cent from 3.06 per cent.

"The WPI print for November 21 clearly highlights the underlying inflationary pressures in the economy that is not apparent in the headline CPI print," said Suman Chowdhury, Chief Analytical Officer, Acuite Ratings & Research.

"There has been a steep sequential rise in inflation of primary articles and fuel and power, which stood at 5.6 per cent for both categories, clearly reflecting the continuous rise in commodity prices, including oil, coal and various metals," Chowdhury added.

According to Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, ICRA: "The spike in WPI inflation to a fresh all-time high of 14.2 per cent in November has come as a shock, especially with most non-core categories displaying an inflation rate that was much steeper than expected.

"The inflation for headline and core-WPI, and fuel and power was printed at all-time high levels in November 2021. A falling base is likely to push up the inflation rate for primary food articles further in the current month, in spite of an anticipated sequential moderation in prices of various food items."

Sunil Kumar Sinha, Principal Economist, India Ratings and Research, said: "Sticky core inflation indicates that manufacturers are increasingly passing on the higher input costs to their output prices despite uneven recovery in demand. Since fuel is a major input into transportation cost, higher fuel prices push up the distribution cost further.

"Consequently, inflation in seven groups, namely textiles, paper and chemicals, rubber and plastics, basic metals, fabricated metals and furniture, has been in double-digits for six successive months now, with textiles, paper and chemicals touching a new record high in November 2021."