High food prices push retail inflation to 4.62 percent in October

Updated: Nov 14, 2019, 13:28 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Recording a 16-month high, retail inflation breaches RBI's target of 4 percent, reduces headroom for a rate cut in Reserve Bank's monetary policy due in Nov

In October, vegetable prices spiked to 26.10 percent from 5.40 percent in Sept. Representation pic/AFP
In October, vegetable prices spiked to 26.10 percent from 5.40 percent in Sept. Representation pic/AFP

New Delhi: Retail price based consumer inflation spiked to 16-month high of 4.62 per cent in October on costlier food items, reducing the headroom for a rate cut by the RBI in its monetary policy due next month. The inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 3.99 per cent in September and 3.38 per cent in October 2018.The earlier high was reported in June 2018 when the retail inflation print was recorded at 4.92 per cent.

The inflation in the food basket spiked to 7.89 per cent in October 2019 as against 5.11 per cent the preceding month, showed the data released by the Central Statistics Office under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on Wednesday. During the month, the prices of vegetables spiked to 26.10 per cent from 5.40 per cent in September, while for fruits it jumped to 4.08 per cent from 0.83 per cent.

Likewise, the prices of cereals, meat and fish, eggs grew at faster pace of 2.16 per cent, 9.75 per cent and 6.26 per cent, respectively. For pulses and related products, retail inflation rose to 11.72 per cent. However, the prices of fuel and light category continued to witness downward move at (-) 2.02 per cent as against (-) 2.18 per cent a month earlier, showed the data. The retail inflation during October remains above the RBI's comfort level of 4 per cent.

Aditi Nayar, economist at Icra said, looking ahead the pace of normalisation in vegetable prices will be the key driver of the trend in food inflation over the next few months. "The sharp uptick in the CPI inflation in October has contrasted with the industrial contraction recorded in September. In our view, the extent to which the Q2 FY2020 GDP growth reading eases further from the 5 per cent recorded in the previous quarter, will influence the MPC's decision on whether to cut rates further, and by how much, in the December 2019 policy review," she said.

Rahul Gupta, Head of Currency, Emkay Global Financial Services, said this sharp rise was especially due to uptick in food prices amid erratic monsoon.

3.99 percent
Retail inflation in September

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