New Delhi: Encouraged by a steep fall in food inflation to 8%, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the overall rate of price rise will moderate to around 6-7% by March, 2012.

A file photo of finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Headline inflation, which include prices of food items, besides manufactured products, fuel and non-food primary articles, is currently hovering near the double-digit mark.

Mukherjee made the statement while commenting on a sharp fall in food inflation to 8% for the week ended 19 November from 9.01% in the previous week.

“After the month of August, for the first time it (food inflation) has come down to 8%... non-food inflation is steadily declining. In 29 October, it was 6% and now (its has) declined to 2.14%," he said.

Inflation in the overall primary articles category stood at 7.74% during the week ended 19 November, as against 9.08% in the previous week.

Inflation in non-food articles was recorded at 2.14% during the week under review, as against 4.05% in the previous week ended 12 November.

The decline in the rate of price rise in food items is likely to provide some relief to the government and the Reserve Bank of India, which have been facing flak from all quarters for persistently high prices.

Headline inflation has been above the 9%-mark since December 2010. It stood at 9.73% in October this year.

In its second quarterly review of the monetary policy last month, RBI said it expects inflation to remain elevated till December on account of the demand-supply mismatch before moderating to 7% by March 2012.

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