The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) eased gradually to 2.47% in month of March 2018 compared to growth rate of 2.48% in February 2018 and 3.02% in January 2018.
The official WPI for "All Commodities" (Base: 2011-12=100) for the month of March, 2018 rose by 0.2 percent to 116.0 (provisional) from 115.8 (provisional) for the previous month. In February 2018, inflation was at 2.48 per cent.
The Department of Statistics is set to announce March inflation on Wednesday. The wholesale prices of food articles fell 0.29 per cent in March compared to a 0.88 per cent rise in the previous month. In the same month previous year, the WPI inflation was 5.11 per cent.
"Despite our base-case assumption, Bank Negara Malaysia's future actions are expected to be data-dependent".
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The data disclosed that prices of food articles dipped by (-) 0.29 percent from an acceleration of 0.88 percent in the previous corresponding month.
According to the Commerce Ministry data, the WPI inflation in March 2017 was more than double at 5.11 per cent. This was mainly driven by the sharp correction in prices of vegetables, he said. The index for electricity group rose by 2.9 per cent to 105.4 (provisional) from 102.4 (provisional) due to higher price of electricity (3 per cent).
Martin Beck, lead United Kingdom economist at Oxford Economics, said: "Although we think that 2018 as a whole will see a steady decline in price pressures, March may have proved an exception to that. It may be too early draw any inference from such movement, the divergence suggests that impulse of demand recovery at the moment is being felt at the retail level and not so much at the wholesale level", said Mr Sinha.
The ease in inflation was attributed to falling prices of food items, particularly vegetables and pulses.
"However, the extent of pass through of higher crude oil prices to retail fuel prices, in light of whether the uptick is absorbed by oil marketing companies or cuts in excise/VAT are instituted by central or state governments, remains to be seen".