Inflation to moderate to 5-6% by December: PM

"Prices continue to be a matter of concern ... it is affecting the country's masses ... but I believe by December we can bring it down to 5 to 6 per cent," he told reporters at his national press conference here to mark the completion of one year UPA-II in office.

Singh said the government has been monitoring inflation and has been taking measures to check the rising prices, particularly food products hit by poor monsoons last year.

"But for this (high inflation), international financial crisis and high prices of petroleum prices in global markets are to blame. Besides, droughts and floods in some parts of the country last year also affected our economy as whole," Singh said.

Monsoon accounts for a bulk of rains India receives and nearly 66 per cent of the country's agriculture sector depends on rains for cultivation.

High food and fuel prices fuelled overall inflation to over 10 per cent in February and provisional numbers for April put it at 9.59 per cent.

"As a result of steps we have taken, there are signs of prices showing a moderating trend," Singh said.

"We are closely monitoring the situation and together with state governments take all steps to bring down prices and protect the vulnerable section of our society from the impact of high prices," Singh added.

Food inflation, which had shot above 20 per cent in December has since moderated but is still above 16 per cent.

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