CPI Inflation Eases Further To 2% On Falling Food Prices

Retail inflation eases to 2.05% in January

The consumer price inflation (CPI) for the month of January further declined to 2.05 per cent on the back of drop in food prices and smaller increases in fuel costs.

Much of the current fall in food inflation is being driven by the vegetables segment, where inflation stood at -13.32 percent in January compared to -16.14 percent in December.

The industrial growth for November was revised downwards to 0.3 per cent from the provisional estimate of 0.5 per cent released last month.

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Retail inflation in January is the lowest since June 2017 when it had touched 1.46 per cent. Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) inflation stood at (-) 2.17 per cent in January as against (-) 2.65 per cent in December.

The MPC, which mainly monitors retail inflation data, also revised down its inflation projections for the period from April to September to 3.2 percent to 3.4 percent, from 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent. Economists had on an average expected inflation at 2.48 per cent in January, according to a poll of 30 economists surveyed by news agency Reuters before the last RBI policy meeting. This, combined with a negative base effect, may lead to a four-tick decline of the year-on-year rate to 1.5%. Consumer-price growth reached 2.05 percent in January, well below the Reserve Bank of India's medium term target of 4 percent.

The biggest ever monthly fall in gas prices since comparable records began in 1988 coincided with the start of energy regulator Ofgem's cap on household bills.

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British inflation fell to a two-year low in January, dipping below the Bank of England's target and offering some relief to consumers who have tightened their belts ahead of Brexit. However, the conundrum of sharp spikes in rural health and education prices still remains and requires watching.

The manufacturing sector grew 2.7% in December, while electricity sector grew 5.5%. "Our expectations for the next few months are also very benign on headline CPI and hence we believe that there is room for further accommodation in the next policy meeting".

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