Economy

Retail Inflation Eases To 4-Month Low; Industrial Output Soars To 7.5%

Retail Inflation Eases To 4-Month Low; Industrial Output Soars To 7.5%

Some consumer prices that skyrocketed in January probably returned to Earth in February, indicating fears of runaway US inflation that jarred financial markets were overblown.

Retail inflation for the month of February cooled off to a four-month low of 4.4 per cent as compared to 5.07 per cent in January 2018, provisional government data showed on Monday.

Further, the cumulative growth for the period April - January 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 4.1 percent. The decline was supported by a sharp moderation in vegetable inflation to 17% in February 2018 against 27% in January 2018 and a continuous dip in pulses and products inflation.

The consumer price index probably rose 0.2 percent in February from the previous month, after a 0.5-percent jump in January, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Labor Department figures due Tuesday.

Milk and its products too were less expensive with inflation print of 4.21 percent, cereals and products at 2.10 percent, meat & fish at 3.31 percent while for eggs the prices grew at a slower pace of 8.51 percent.

Inflation softened last month mainly on account of cheaper food prices and lower cost for fuel.

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In January, apparel played a major role in boosting inflation, with the biggest rise in prices in about 28 years.

The deceleration in CPI inflation will nudge the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to hold off on hiking key repo rates as it sounded hawkish at the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting last month.

Capital goods output in the month under consideration increased sharply by 14.6 per cent, as against a fall of 0.6 per cent in January a year ago.

The mining sector, however, was a laggard at 0.1% growth compared to 8.6% a year ago.

"When it comes to consumer inflation, 4.4% in February may be lower than January, the undercurrent remains biased on the upside, making RBI disinclined towards any rate cut, though the industry would like it to happen", it said in a statement.


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