New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said inflation has already peaked and would now moderate gradually.

"We may have seen the peak as far as monthly inflation rates are concerned with the release of figures for August 2011 on Wednesday. Here onwards we should see a gradual moderation in monthly headline inflation," Mukherjee said in a statement released on the social networking site Facebook.

 The comments came after headline inflation touched a 13-month high of 9.78 per cent in August on account of high prices of food and manufactured items.

Headline inflation has been hovering over the 9 per cent mark since December 2010.

Earlier in the day, Mukherjee told reporters that it will take "some time" before prices of the kitchen staples like onion and potato decline.

"Inflation in certain commodities like onion and potato are still a concern. The steps that we have taken will have some moderating influence but it is taking time and it will continue for some time," Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee told reporters here.

Food inflation fell marginally to 9.47 per cent for the week ended September 3 from 9.55 per cent in the previous week, even as prices of almost all items continued to rise.

Onions were dearer by 43 per cent on an annual basis, while potato prices were up 21 per cent, as per the latest food inflation data.

While the government has taken several steps, like reducing duty on import of several food items, the Reserve Bank has been tightening monetary policy to control demand driven inflation since March 2010.
 
The central bank is scheduled to review monetary policy on Thursday and it is widely expected that it may go for another round of rate hike.
The government and the RBI had earlier projected inflation to remain elevated till the third quarter on account of high international commodity prices.

Like many government departments, the Finance Ministry too has started using the popular social networking site Facebook to reach out to the masses, especially the urban youth.

(Agencies)