India’s inflation hits five-month high

NEW DELHI, June 16, 2014 (AFP) – India’s inflation accelerated to a five-month high in May, in a worrying sign for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new government which has made fighting price rises a priority. The Wholesale Price Index, the most closely watched cost of living monitor, rose to 6.01 percent in May — the highest figure since December and compared to 5.20 percent in April.

The jump, which was in line with market expectations, was driven by higher food and fuel prices, commerce ministry data showed.

The increase comes amid a rally in oil prices and forecasts for weaker monsoon rains that threaten to cut crop production and further drive up food prices.

Modi’s right-wing government, which came to power a month ago after a landslide election victory, has pledged to revive the economy growing at under five percent.

The government has also made tackling inflation, which hits millions of India’s poor through high costs of basic items, a priority.

The price of food across-the-board rose 2.3 percent in May from a year earlier, while fuel prices, including that of electricity, rose by 0.5 percent.

The government is expected to unveil the annual budget next month, with analys