Saturday, 23 January, 2021


Retail inflation declines to 4.59% in December, back in RBI's comfort range

India’s retail inflation drops to 4.59 % in December December retail inflation eases to 4.59% from 6.93% in November, industrial output back in negative
Conrad Doyle | 13 January, 2021, 17:36

Food inflation declined to 3.41% in December in 2020, compared to 9.5% in the previous month, according to the data released by the ministry of statistics and programme implementation. The CPI-based inflation has held a declining trend over the past few months, declining to 6.93 per cent in November from a six-year high of 7.61 per cent in October.

After rising two consecutive months, factory output faltered again, slipping into the negative in November due to contraction in manufacturing production and mining output, data released Tuesday by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed.

The IIP had grown by 2.1% in November 2019.

Buoyed by higher gasoline prices, the broader CPI advanced 0.4 per cent from a month earlier and 1.4 per cent from December 2019. With this, the headline inflation rate has slipped back into the Reserve Bank of India's target band of 2-6 per cent for the first time in nine months.

Rahul Gupta, head of research currency, Emkay Global Services, says "India's December CPI has come as a surprise, lower than the market expectations".

"The year-on-year decline in industrial output seen in November 2020 is expected to be fleeting, with many lead indicators such as electricity demand, exports, ports cargo traffic and GST e-way bill generation portending a solid rebound in activity in December 2020", said ICRA's Nayar.

Industrial production has been hit due to the Covid-19 pandemic since March a year ago when IIP contracted by 18.7% in the month. "The unevenness and fragility of the current recovery is evident with only 10 out of 23 industry group showing positive growth in November", he pointed out.

A key measure of prices paid by USA consumers cooled in December from a month earlier as slack in the labour market and muted demand helped keep inflation pressures tame.

Interestingly, core inflation, which measures growth in the consumer price index after removing the food and fuel components, is not moderating, and remained in the range of 5.6-5.8 per cent in the second half of 2020. An accompanying moderation in the inflation rates for meat and fish, eggs and pulses, helped the consumer food price index record its slowest pace of increase in 16 months at 3.4%.

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