New Delhi: Headline inflation hovered stubbornly near the double-digit mark in October, rising marginally to 9.73 percent as prices of food products, fuel and manufactured goods put more pressure on the common man's pocket and major sectors of the economy.

Inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), stood at 9.72 percent in September. The rate of price stood at 9.08 percent in October, 2010.

On an annual basis, food items became 11.06 percent more expensive year-on-year during the month under review. Food inflation was recorded at 9.23 percent in September.

Vegetables grew 21.76 percent costlier on an annual basis, while fruit prices were up by 11.96 percent and milk by 11.12 percent during the month. Eggs, meat and fish witnessed 12.59 percent inflation during October, 2011.

Inflation in overall primary articles stood at 11.40 percent in October, compared to 11.84 percent in September.

Non-food primary articles, which include fibres, oil seeds and minerals, grew dearer by 7.71 percent in October, as compared to a 14.82 percent rise in the previous month.

Prices of manufactured products, which have a weight of around 65 percent in the WPI basket, went up by 7.66 percent year-on-year in October, as against 7.69 percent in September.

Inflation in manufactured items has been high since February this year, when it crossed the 6 percent-mark.

Experts said stubborn inflation will put pressure on the government and the RBI at a time when the latest data shows growth in industrial output plunged to a two-year low of 1.9 percent in September.

Among manufactured items, iron and semis grew dearer by 21.67 percent, edible oil prices rose by 13.09 percent, the cost of tobacco products moved up by 12.53 percent and cotton textiles became 10.80 percent more expensive.

The spill-over of the over Rs 3 per litre hike in petrol prices by oil marketing companies in mid-September seems to have been reflected in the numbers.

This is the 11th consecutive month when inflation has been above the 9 percent-mark.

Elevated inflation levels close to double digits are likely to put pressure on the RBI to look for alternative policy options to bring the price situation under control. The apex bank has already said that another rate hike at its next mid-quarterly policy review in early December is unlikely.

The apex bank has already hiked key policy rates 13 times since March, 2010, to tame inflation.

India Inc has said the string of rate hikes, which have raised the cost of borrowing, have acted as a dampener to fresh investment and hindered growth.

At its second quarterly review last month, the RBI said it expects inflation to start moderating by December and fall to 7 percent by March, 2012

(Agencies)