ANZ Bank New Zealand economists said the fees-free first-year tertiary education policy broadly offset any inflationary pressure coming from the usual annual increase in tobacco excise duty, with a 4 per cent fall in the education group instead of its typical first quarter rise.
The Wholesale Price-Indexed (WPI) inflation of the country slipped marginally to 2.47 per cent in March from 2.48 per cent reported for the previous month because of falling prices of food items, especially vegetables and pulses.
On a sequential basis, expenses on primary articles, which constitute 22.62 per cent of the WPI's total weightage, inched up by 0.24 per cent, from an increase of 0.79 per cent in February.
On the basis of Wholesale Price Index (WPI), inflation was 2.48 per cent in February and 5.11 per cent in March past year. However, the price of ragi (3%), jowar and fish-marine (2% each) and peas/chawali, moong, betel leaves, wheat, paddy and pork (1% each) moved up.
The data disclosed that prices of food articles dipped by (-) 0.29 per cent from an acceleration of 0.88 per cent in the previous corresponding month. Similarly, the index for "Non-Food Articles" group declined by 0.3 percent to 120.2 due to lower price of guar seed, floriculture, raw cotton, cottonseed, mustard seed, among others. However, the price of raw silk (7%), mesta and hides (raw) (5% each), sunflower (4%), soyabean (3%), fodder (2%) and raw wool, coir fibre and raw rubber (1% each) moved up. It revised downwards forecast for retail inflation to 4.7-5.1 per cent for April-September and 4.4 per cent for October-March.
On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, onion prices soared higher by 42.22 per cent whereas potato prices rose by 43.25 per cent.
INFLATION is expected to have held steady in March as a drop in food and fuel prices was offset by higher airfares around the earlier Easter holidays. However, the March 2018 inflation is higher than 3.89 per cent recorded in the same month past year.