Inflation to come down to 7 pc by March-end: Gopalan

New Delhi: Describing the present level of inflation as too high for comfort, the Finance Ministry today said it would come down to 7 per cent by end-March, 2012. "I expect around 7 per cent (inflation) by March-end. It (current inflation) is too high from comfort level," Economic Affairs Secretary R Gopalan told reporters here.

Overall inflation increased to 9.72 per cent in September, 2011, from 8.98 per cent in the year-ago period, as prices of food and manufactured items continued to escalate. However, general inflation, as measured by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), was marginally lower than the 9.78 per cent figure recorded for August.

The year-on-year rise in inflation has raised the prospects of another rate hike by the Reserve Bank later this month. The RBI has already hiked rates 12 times since March, 2010, to tame inflation, which is hovering stubbornly near double-digit levels. The RBI has already said that controlling inflation is its main priority and a change in its tight monetary policy stance would depend upon softening of prices.