JGBs flat ahead of March trade balance data, national consumer price inflation

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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.

Food and beverage prices were 0.9 per cent up, on an annual basis, while the price of utilities and housing has increased by 4.6 per cent and transportation costs were 0.7 per cent higher compared to a year earlier.

He said BNZ had expected inflation to lift 0.3 per cent on the quarter but raised that forecast to 0.4 per cent after government figures showed food prices jumped 1 per cent in March. However, rising crude oil prices pushed up inflation in the "fuel and power" basket to 4.70 per cent in March from 3.81 per cent in the previous month.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves inversely to its price, hovered around 0.04 percent, the yield on the long-term 30-year note almost steadied at 0.70 percent and the yield on short-term 2-year remained flat at -0.15 percent by 04:50 GMT.

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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. 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).

According to the Commerce Ministry data, the WPI inflation in March 2017 was more than double at 5.11 percent. Deflation in pulses was 20.58 per cent, in vegetables (2.70 per cent), wheat (1.19 per cent) and egg, meat and fish (0.82 per cent) in March. This is different from the consumer price index-based inflation, which reflects price changes in the retail market. The retail inflation slowed down mainly on account of easing food prices including vegetables.

The inflation data for January was revised upwards to 3.02 per cent from the provisional estimate of 2.84 per cent.

In its first monetary policy review for the fiscal, the Reserve Bank had earlier this month maintained status-quo on interest rate citing inflationary concerns.

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