India’s retail inflation surged sharply to 5.55 per cent in November after falling to a four-month low of 4.8 per cent in October, according to data released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation.
The uptick in retail inflation has been attributed to a sharp rise in food prices. Notably, the food inflation for November registered at 8.70 per cent.
Despite the surge, the inflation figure remains within the Reserve Bank of India’s acceptable range of 2-6 per cent. In sequential terms, the inflation rate recorded a 0.54 per cent increase, as per the released data. It may be noted that this marks the third consecutive month when retail inflation has stayed below 6 per cent.
While inflation remains within the RBI’s comfort zone, the surge in inflation could make the central bank’s job difficult going forward. In its most recent policy review, the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to keep the key rates unchanged, but warned that it would remain “highly alert” to undertake appropriate policy actions if the need arises.
“Against this backdrop, the MPC decided to keep the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.50 per cent, but remain highly alert and prepared to undertake appropriate policy actions, as warranted,” RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said.
Meanwhile, India’s Index of Industrial Production (IIP) in October 2023 reached a 16-month peak, surging by 11.7 per cent compared to a contraction of 4.1 per cent in the corresponding period the previous year, as per government data.
This also marks a substantial growth from September when it had expanded by 4.5 per cent.
Upasana Bhardwaj, chief economist at Kotak Mahindra Bank, told news agency Reuters that the NOvember CPI inflation has been “solely led by food inflation”.
“We continue to monitor the key food items as production remains a worry amidst weak sowing, lower reservoir levels and continued erratic weather conditions,” Bhardwaj said.
“Overall, the continued moderation in core inflation should provide respite to RBI (Reserve Bank of India) which should keep them on a prolonged pause mode,” she added.