As industries and businesses slowed down during the nationwide lockdown, the demand for fuel and power took a major hit, deflating prices by around 20 per cent on-year in May 2020. The prices of crude petroleum and natural gas fell 23.18 per cent in May, compared to March 2020, according to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry. However, the prices for coal and electricity remained unchanged during this period. Amid slow economic activity and low demand, the overall wholesale prices in the month of May also saw a steep fall of 3.21 per cent. In the same month last year, WPI rose by 2.79 per cent.
While wholesale prices of most of the products deflated, the food prices were still on a rise. The wholesale prices of food rose by 2.31 per cent in May. However, the inflation rate slowed down from 5.20 per cent in March 2020. While potato prices surged by 52.25 per cent m-o-m in May, the prices of onion rose by 6.26 per cent, and pulses rose by 12 per cent.
After 10 weeks, the wholesale price index is finalised and final figures are released by the government. Due to limited information available for the month of April 2020, the provisional figures of May 2020 are compared with the final figures of March 2020, the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the government did not release the retail inflation figures for the month of May and said that the data has been collected through personal visits of field staff of NSO and telephone calls from the designated outlets in selected markets only up to the extent which was feasible. However, the government did release food inflation figures, which shot up last month. Inflation rates for Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) for the month of May 2020 for rural, urban and combined sector rose by 9.69 per cent, 8.36 per cent, and 9.28 per cent respectively, according to MOSPI.