India December Consumer Price Inflation at 17-Month High

India December Consumer Price Inflation at 17-Month High

As per the CSO data, inflation for the food basket increased to 4.96 per cent in December from 4.42 per cent in the preceding month.

For December, there has been a considerable rise in the retail inflation to 5.21 per cent as compared to 4.88 per cent recorded in November.

"The 0.3% m/m gain in core consumer prices in December will reinforce expectations of a Fed rate hike in March and supports our view that the Fed will ultimately increase interest rates by a more aggressive 100bp cumulatively this year", said Paul Ashworth, chief USA economist at Capital Economics. The recent rise in the retail inflation may put pressure on the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is supposed to keep it at 4 per cent with a margin of around 2 per cent.

Economists are hoping that a tightening labor market, rising commodity prices and a weak dollar will lift inflation toward the Fed's 2 percent target this year. The cost of both hospital and doctor visits increased 0.3 percent. According to consensus forecasts, economists were expecting to see an increase of 0.1%. Apparel prices, however, fell 0.5 percent.

Cheaper gasoline prices limited the increase in the overall CPI to 0.1 percent in December after climbing 0.4 percent in November. The December decline was led by a 2.7 per cent drop in the price of gasoline, which had jumped 7.3 per cent in November.

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Prices of medical care rose 0.3%, as the index for prescription drugs advanced 1%.

"The 12-month change has now been either 1.7 or 1.8 percent for eight consecutive months", the report said.

Excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales increased 0.3 percent last month after an upwardly revised 1.4 percent surge in November.

The industry group "manufacture of pharmaceuticals, medicinal chemical and botanical products" reported a 39.5 percent growth, followed by 29.1 percent in "Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products" and 22.6 percent in "Manufacture of other transport equipment". Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of USA economic activity, increased at a 2.2 percent annualized rate in the third quarter.

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