Inflation expected to decline to 6 pc by March: Pranab

"I am hoping it to be around 6 per cent by March," Mukherjee told reporters here. The finance minister said after quite some time food inflation has become "very moderate", adding it has come down to single digits.

Mukherjee's comment came after the latest government data released today showed inflation declining to 7.48 per cent in November, mainly on lowering of pressure on certain food items.

Inflation had stood at 8.58 per cent in October. It was 4.50 per cent in November 2009. This is the fourth consecutive month when the overall inflation has been in the single digit.

It had remained over 10 per cent for six months till July. As per the WPI data, prices of primary articles -- food, non-food articles and minerals -- shot up by 13 per cent on an annual basis.

Inflation of food articles alone stood at 9.41 per cent, a far cry from the corresponding month in last year when it was as high as 16.73. Prices of certain food items declined on an year-on-year.

While wheat became cheaper by 1.49 per cent, pulses fell by 8.37 per cent and vegetables overall went down by 4.59 per cent. During the month, fuel and power prices went up by 10.32 per cent, while manufactured goods became expensive by 4.56 per cent on an annual basis.

Within manufactured products, however, sugar prices eased by 10.97 per cent and leather and leather goods by 1.77 per cent on an annual basis. "There has be moderate influence on consumer price inflation also," the Finance Minister said.

Earlier this month, after tabling the Mid-Year Analysis of the Economy in Parliament, Mukherjee had exuded confidence of the overall inflation falling to 6 per cent by end of the fiscal.

The latest figure also bears out the projection of Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu who had earlier said that inflation in November will be down to 7.5 per cent.

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