Retail inflation eases to 4.17% in July as food prices decline

The RBI has raised its inflation outlook to 4.8% in the second half of 2018-19 from its earlier projection of 4.7

The RBI however will have some elbow room on easing inflation after having effected back-to-back repo rate hikes in its last two policy meetings. The next bi-monthly policy is to be unveiled on October 5.

"Today CPI inflation data got released".

Whilst there continues to be upward pressure from increasing oil costs, on both petrol and oil for heating, travel costs have been causing less pressure on inflation than in previous months.

As for year-on-year comparison, retail inflation had increased by 2.36 percent in July last year.

ICRA's Nayar said CPI inflation in Q2 FY19 looks set to lag the MPC's estimate of 4.6 per cent, reducing the likelihood of a rate hike in the October policy review.

Government data released on Monday revealed that the rates of inflation for vegetables were negative (-2.19 per cent) along with pulses (-8.91 per cent) and sugar and confectionery (-5.81 per cent).

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"As the temporary factors pushing prices up fade away, inflation is expected to slowly fall back close to the target rate, but that will offer little respite for workers without a significant pickup to their salaries in tandem".

Within the index, food category inflation was 1.73% in July, easing from 3.11% in June.

India Ratings and Research's (Ind-Ra) Chief Economist and Senior Director (Public Finance) Devendra Pant said: "This is nine month lowest retail inflation".

As per the data, the inflation in protein-rich items like meat and fish, and also milk was also slower in July compared to the previous month. However, a depreciating rupee, which hit an all-time high on Monday at 69.93 against the dollar, and volatile crude oil prices, may lead to considerable uncertainty over inflation. Economists in a poll by news agency Reuters had estimated July consumer inflation at 4.51 per cent.

The prices for the data are collected from selected towns by the Field Operations Division of NSSO and from selected villages by the Department of Posts.

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