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India’s Retail Inflation Reaches 4-Month High at 5.69% in December

India’s headline retail inflation surged to a four-month high of 5.69% in December, disclosed by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation on January 12. Despite exceeding November’s 5.55%, it fell short of economists’ 5.9% prediction. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) showcased a month-on-month decrease of 0.3%.

Inflation Breakdown (December 2023)

Food Inflation: 9.53% (-0.9% MoM)

    • Cereals: 9.93% (0.8%)
    • Meat, Fish: 1.15% (-1.2%)
    • Edible Oils: -14.96% (-0.1%)
    • Fruits: 11.14% (-1.6%)
    • Vegetables: 27.64% (-5.3%)
    • Pulses: 20.73% (0.5%)

Other Sectors:

    • Clothing, Footwear: 3.61% (0.2%)
    • Housing: 3.63% (-0.6%)
    • Fuel, Light: -0.99% (0.2%)
    • Miscellaneous: 4.07% (0.2%)

While retail inflation has persisted above the Reserve Bank of India’s 4% target for 51 consecutive months, it fell below expectations for the second consecutive month. An unfavorable base effect was the primary driver, though the month-on-month change in prices weakened. Core inflation, excluding food and fuel, dipped to 3.9%. The lower-than-expected December figures provide relief to policymakers ahead of the interim budget and the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision in February, maintaining the 6.5% policy repo rate for the past five meetings.

Important Questions Related to Exams

  1. What was India’s headline retail inflation rate in December, and how did it compare to economists’ predictions?
  2. Explain the key factors contributing to the December inflation figures, and why was there a month-on-month decrease in the Consumer Food Price Index?
  3. In which sectors did the price indices experience notable changes in December, and what impact did these changes have on core inflation?
  4. How does the recent retail inflation data align with the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target, and what implications does it hold for policymakers in the upcoming interim budget and Monetary Policy Committee decision?

Kindly share your responses in the comment section.

 

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