New Delhi: Food inflation softened to 18.65 percent for the week ended December 12, though essential items like potato and pulses continued to remain expensive.
The food inflation declined by 1.30 percentage points during the second week from 19.95 percent in the previous week.
Potato prices remained high recording an increase of 115 percent on a year-on-year basis, followed by pulses whose prices jumped by 41.61 percent. Vegetables as a whole turned expensive by 37.97 percent.
The inflation for primary articles, which include food, cereals and fuel, rose to 14.66 per cent in the reporting week.
The price index for food articles declined by 1.2 percent during the week mainly on account of decline in prices of fruits and vegetables (2 percent), wheat (5 percent), bajra (4 percent) and spices and tea (1 percent each).
Food prices have been surging after the driest spell in nearly four decades and flooding in some parts of the country hurt crops and pushed up food prices.
Yesterday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee also termed inflation as a major challenge for the government in the short-to-medium term.