Retail inflation at seven-month high driven by food and fuel prices

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) or retail inflation stood at 3.58% in October this year in comparison with 4.2% in the same period last year, according to a data released by the government.

Combined food inflation in October was 1.9% in October, compared with 1.25% a month ago as vegetable prices increased by 7.47% from 3.92% in the previous month.

Mumbai: Consumer inflation for the month of October surged to 3.58 per cent driven by housing, fuel, pan, tobacco and intoxicants prices. Prices of milk and egg increased modestly and fruit and fish prices came down marginally.

Consumer food price inflation, a metric to gauge changes in monthly kitchen costs, saw a jump, with prices rising 1.90 percent in October from 1.25 percent in September.

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This uptick in prices reduces further chances of a rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India in its monetary policy review meet in December. Moreover, the pass-through of the goods and services tax (GST) to final prices of various goods and services may not be complete. RBI holds a policy review on December 6.

The MPC in August cut its key policy rate by 25 basis points to 6%, the lowest since November 2010. On a sequential basis, core inflation slowed to 0.47 percent from 0.68 percent in the prior month.

Inflation for the month of October stood at 4.20 per cent in 2016. "There is, however, a low likelihood of a rate cut by the RBI in the immediate term", said Aditi Nayar, an economist at ICRA, an Indian arm of the rating agency Moody's, adding that inflationary expectations could remain high in the second half of the fiscal year that ends in March.

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