Retail inflation rose to 7.35% in December - the highest since July 2014

Retail inflation rose to 7.35% in December - the highest since July 2014

Prices of eggs increased by 8.7%, and prices of food and beverages overall increased by 12.16%.

The retail inflation in December rose to 7.35 percent as opposed to 5.54 percent in November past year, going beyond the Reserve Bank of India's set target of keeping inflation between 2 percent to 6 percent.

This is the highest retail inflation recorded in India after five years.

The prices of onion - an important food item in many Indian households - also contributed to the uptick in food inflation. As the table below shows, the "vegetables" inflation rate surged to 60.5% in December 2019 as against 35.99% in November 2019.

The inflation in "pulses and products" was recorded at 15.44 per cent, while in case of "meat and fish" it was almost 10 per cent.

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The retail inflation jump came mostly from the rise in prices of vegetables.

The inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 5.54 per cent in the month of November and 2.11 per cent in December 2018. This is up from 5.54% in November and 4.62% in October, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The RBI is mandated to keep inflation between 2-6%, with a margin of 2% on either side. "While there is some sort of increase in other food prices as well, we don't see that to be extremely alarming", Aastha Gudwani, India economist at BofA Global Research told news agency Reuters. "Even so, our estimates suggest inflation will likely remain above 6.5% in 4QFY20 and could constrain a rate cut in February", financial services firm Edelweiss said in a statement.

The data assumes significance as the Reserve Bank, in its latest monetary policy review, maintained key lending rates on account of rising retail inflation.

The central bank will make its next interest rate decision on February 6, a few days after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presents the Union Budget.

Going ahead, the chamber will look forward to the continuation of softer stance of monetary policy by the RBI to spur investments and consumption demand in the coming times.

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