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NEW DELHI: After declining for two weeks food inflation inched up to 11.49 per cent even as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh exuded confidence that price rise will moderate and overall inflation will decline to 7 per cent by the end of next month.

Food prices moved upwards on account of rise in prices of egg, meat, fish, milk and vegetables, according to the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data for the week ended February 12 released today.

The food inflation had dropped to 11.05 per cent in the first week of February from 13.07 in the previous week, which was also a decline from the numbers for week ended January 22.

Terming high food inflation as a matter of concern, the Prime Minister in Lok Sabha said the situation has improved and expected the situation to improve further.

“I will be the first one to admit that inflation in the last 18 months has become a problem. There were reasons beyond our control. First of all, there was the drought of 2009 and there were natural calamities which affected the production of important products such as vegetables and onions,” he said.

Singh, however, exuded confidence that the overall inflation will come down to seven per cent by March-end on the back of steps being taken by the government.

The Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has also said food inflation will come down to single digit by March end.

On the rising prices of cereals, Singh said India has sufficient accumulated stock of the commodity.

As per the WPI data, there was an uptick in the prices of cereals and rice during the week ended February 12.

Inflation in cereals was 2.07 per cent and rice stood at 1.65 per cent on an annual basis.

At the same time, prices of eggs, meat and fish rose by 14.79 per cent while milk was dearer by 16.99 per cent.

Vegetable prices continued to pinch the pocket of common man as it rose by 15.89 per cent in the week under review, despite a 9.72 per cent decline in potato prices.

During the week, prices of milk rose by 5 per cent, mutton 2 per cent and barley 1 per cent. Among fuel items, furnace oil and naphtha grew by 2 per cent each.

“I think this is not a trend. Going ahead, food inflation will come down,” said Crisil Chief Economist D K Joshi .

Currently, fuel and fibre prices are witnessing a high trend, Joshi said.

Fuel prices can see further rise in the coming weeks as crude oil prices are hardening due to political crisis in the Middle-East, experts said.

Crude oil prices hit a two-year high of $ 99.10 per barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange .

As per the data, inflation in primary articles was 15.77 per cent and non-food articles 31.58 per cent for the week ended February 12.

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