Wpi Inflation Rate

riday, April 25, 2008
How is WPI inflation rate calculated in India?
With inflation rate surging to new heights, the term is more in the news than ever in India. While leaving aside the debate on whether India should adopt CPI (Consumer Price Index) based inflation calculation rather than the current WPI (Wholesale Price Index) based one, let’s find in detail how inflation rate is calculated in India; which is the WPI based inflation rate.

What is inflation?
Inflation rate of a country is the rate at which prices of goods and services increase in its economy. It is an indication of the rise in the general level of prices over time. Since it’s practically impossible to find out the average change in prices of all the goods and services traded in an economy (which would give comprehensive inflation rate) due to the sheer number of goods and services present, a sample set or a basket of goods and services is used to get an indicative figure of the change in prices, which we call the inflation rate.

Mathematically, inflation or inflation rate is calculated as the percentage rate of change of a certain price index. The price indices widely used for this are Consumer Price Index (adopted by countries such as USA, UK, Japan and China) and Wholesale Price Index (adopted by countries such as India). Thus inflation rate, generally, is derived from CPI or WPI. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Since India uses WPI method for inflation calculation, let’s go in to the details of WPI based inflation calculation.

How is WPI (Wholesale Price Index) calculated?
In this method, a set of 435 commodities and their price changes are used for the calculation. The selected commodities are supposed to represent various strata of the economy and are supposed to give a comprehensive WPI value for the economy.

WPI is calculated on a base year and WPI for the base year is assumed to be 100. To show the calculation, let’s assume the base year to be 1970. The data...