New Delhi: Food inflation fell to a single digit at 9.5 per cent for the week ended on March 19 amid easing pulses prices. But fruits and protein-based items remained costly.

Food inflation based on the wholesale price index (WPI) had risen to 10.05 per cent for the preceding week leading up to March 12 after remaining in a single digit for two weeks.

During the week ended March 19, prices of pulses declined by 4.40 per cent. However, as per data released on Thursday, vegetables became costlier by 5.52 per cent year-on-year, with potato prices rising by 8.39 per cent and onions by 6.23 per cent during the week under review.

Prices of fruits soared by 24.67 per cent year-on-year and eggs, meat and fish became dearer by 15.34 per cent. Food inflation stood at 20.18 per cent in the comparable period last year.

During the week under review, milk became 5.79 per cent costlier on an annual basis. The latest WPI data also shows that prices of cereals were up 3.96 per cent and rice became dearer by 2.94 per cent during the week. However, wheat prices remained unchanged year-on-year.

Meanwhile, non-food inflation was up by 26.18 per cent year-on-year. Mineral prices were up by 12.35 per cent during the week under review, while petrol became dearer by 23.14 per cent.

Headline inflation in the country has remained above 8 per cent since February, 2010. Overall inflation in February this year stood at 8.31 per cent.

(Agencies)