Higher food prices accelerate India's retail inflation in October

Retail inflation rises to seven-month high of 3.58%

Consumer price inflation had fallen to a record low of 1.46% in June following a drop in food prices, but has recovered steadily since then.

As per the ministry's data, retail inflation on a YoY basis edged higher due to a rise in the prices of food items like vegetables, milk-based products, cereals, meat and fish.

This month the Consumer food price index (CFPI) stood at 1.90% compared to 1.25% of September 2017 and 3.32% of October 2016.

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Last month, the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) forecasted that retail inflation will hover around 4.2-4.6 percent between October-March this year, higher than the previous projection of 4-4.5 percent. The Reserve Bank of India targets a retail inflation rate of 4%, with a tolerance band of 2%-6%. RBI holds a policy review on December 6. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces crucial state elections in his home state of Gujarat next month, is under pressure to revive economic growth, which slipped to 5.7 percent in the April-June quarter, the slowest pace in three years. The panel left rates unchanged in its October review.

"Today's reading has reaffirmed our position that the inflation trajectory in the second half of this year could be lower than the RBI's projected path of 4.2 percent to 4.6 percent". However, there is a risk that a surge in crude oil prices and recent softness in the Indian rupee might affect the imported inflation component.

"Additionally, the HRA revision at the state level may have a similar impact as that at the central government level, on the housing inflation", she added.

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