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Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's disinflation, not deflation, we're facing now

Today inflation number came at -- a drop to 0.27 per cent in the wholesale prices index (WPI) -- brought more worries than cheers. That's because deflation -- a situation where prices, jobs and incomes keep falling on a sustained basis, and the economy keeps contracting -- has become a new cause for worry. Is India on the way of a debilitating deflation?
INDIA is not going through deflation, just disinflation. What we have now is inflation coming down. It is coming off a high commodity price base. Deflation is when prices fall very rapidly and we haven't seen that happening. In a deflation, people stop spending because they believe that prices will fall further. That is not the situation we are in.
Though WPI for all commodities is up 0.1% at 227 (WoW) in the week ended March 14, from 226.7 in the , CPI is still hovers around 9-10 per cent levels from the double digits of 10.75 per cent. The world over, inflation is measured in CPI, not WPI. The fact that CPI is up means that the price level is still very high. The prices of food, primary articles and housing have still not fallen much. So rather than talking about deflation, policy measures should concentrate on how to bring the CPI down.

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