Retail inflation rises to 3-month high in June. Will it increase further?

By India Today Business Desk: Retail inflation witnessed a surge in June 2023, reaching a three-month high of 4.81 per cent, primarily driven by a sharp increase in food prices.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key measure of retail inflation, stood at a revised 4.31 per cent in May 2023, compared to 7 per cent in the same month the previous year.

Despite this rise, the inflation rate remains within the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) tolerance level of 2-6 per cent.

However, experts warn that retail inflation could potentially escalate in the coming months due to a substantial hike in the prices of various food items, including cereals, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meat.

Unpredictable weather patterns, characterised by erratic and heavy rainfall, are expected to negatively affect crop production, leading to an increase in food prices. This, in turn, could drive up inflation over the next few months.

Also Read | Why inflation spike may cross 5 per cent despite RBI eagle eye

Inflation to rise further

Aditi Nayar, an economist at ICRA, was quoted by news agency Reuters as saying, “A less supportive base and the onset of the spike in vegetable prices pushed up the CPI inflation to a higher than anticipated 4.8 per cent.”

She further added that the high prices of vegetables are likely to persist in July, potentially pushing retail inflation to an “uncomfortable 5.3-5.5 per cent” during the month.

Economists predict that the impact of higher food prices could be felt until August, after which it may start to cool off.

Also Read | Here’s why inflation in the market feels higher than what figures show

Impact on economy

The effects of high retail inflation on the economy can be far-reaching. High inflation rates can lead to a decrease in consumers’ purchasing power, resulting in reduced consumer spending and lower business sales.

This can create excess inventory and dead stock, leading to lost revenue for businesses.

Furthermore, high inflation can distort purchasing power over time for recipients and payers of fixed interest rates, reducing the real income of some consumers.

Also Read | Retail inflation dips to over 2-year low, but here’s the fine print

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