India’s retail inflation eases to 3.69 % in August from 4.17 % in July

13 Septembre, 2018, 13:35 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

However, the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based inflation print was higher than the 3.28 per cent level recorded in August a year ago.

Going forward, economists said the looming impact of revised minimum support prices (MSPs), surge in crude oil prices and sharp weakening of the rupee against the dollar would push up the inflation in the second half, a risk that may weigh in the minds of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its policy review next month. NDTV delivers reliable information across all platforms: TV, Internet and Mobile. The target was last met in October 2017, when CPI inflation had come in at 3.58 per cent.

For many hapless consumers who are ravaged by the effects of the weak rupee and soaring domestic fuel prices, there was some solace on Wednesday in the form of good news on the retail inflation and industrial output front.

Food inflation slowed to 0.29 percent from a year earlier, against 1.37 percent in July.

Softening inflation could give Prime Minister Narendra Modi a boost as he faces general elections next year.

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While oil prices have risen almost 15 per cent this year, the rupee touched an all-time low of 72.01 against U.S. dollar on Wednesday's mid-day trade, before strengthening to 71.86 in later in the day.

The International Monetary Fund, in its annual report on India released in August, warned that average inflation was likely to rise to 5.2 per cent in the 2018/19 fiscal year from a 17-year low of 3.6 per cent in the previous fiscal year. The tumble has sparked discontent in a country that relies heavily on imports for its fuel needs.

The RBI, which next meets on October 5, has raised its benchmark rate by a total of 50 basis points at its past two meetings, to 6.5 per cent, while warning about inflationary pressures.

Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist, India Ratings, said a robust 1Q FY19 GDP growth, coupled with declining inflation trajectory and a relatively stable IIP growth, should make the RBI more optimistic about the economy and hold on policy rate in the forthcoming policy review in view of two back-to-back hikes.

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