India is not the only country where rising prices of essential commodities is giving consumers and policy makers sleepless nights -- the surge in inflation is a major cause of concern even for giants like the US and China and rich nations like Britain and Singapore.
Inflation based on wholesale prices in India has been hovering around 6-6.5%for the past few weeks, well above the Reserve Bank’s target of 5-5.5% for this fiscal. This is despite various efforts by the government and the central bank to rein it back within the limits.
Even measures like repeated hike in interest rates and ban on futures trading of certain commodities like wheat and rice have failed to yield the desired results in India.
Across the ocean in the UK, the measure of annual consumer price inflation rose to 2.8% in February from 2.7% a month ago, well above the government’s target of two per cent, as per UK’s Office for National Statistics.
The largest upward impact on the CPI annual rate came from transport costs due to increase in air fares in February, particularly for travelling to European destinations.
Back home in Asia, the inflation rate is inching closer to the tolerance level of 3% in China, where it rose from 2.2% in January to 2.8% last month.
Similar to India, soaring inflation in the world’s fastest growing economy has put pressure on Chinese central bank to raise interest rates.
Food prices, a major component of the Chinese CPI basket, were up six per cent for the month. February’s data bring inflation for the first two months of the year to 2.4 %, below the government’s target of a sub-three per cent rise in the CPI index.