Economy

High food prices keep Indias retail inflation above 6% in August

The latest data shows consumer inflation has remained above the central bank's medium term range of 4-6 per cent for a fifth month in a row.

Almost 50 economists had expected consumer prices to have risen 6.85 per cent in August from a year ago, according to a poll conducted by news agency Reuters.

The retail inflation has now remained above the upper band set by the Reserve Bank of India of 6 per cent for nine consecutive months, though not successively for three financial quarters yet.

Data separately released by the industry department earlier in the day showed India's wholesale price inflation turned positive in August after a gap of four months when it remained in deflationary territory, signalling producers are slowly regaining their pricing power after the supply and demand shock triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The wholesale price index (WPI) inflation stood at 0.16% in August against a contraction of 0.58% in July as inflation for the manufactured items accelerated to 1.27% from 0.51% during the same period.

The RBI's Monetary Policy Committee, headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, adjusts key rates based on changes in inflation trends. "With favourable monsoon and prospect of good kharif and rabi crops, India Ratings expects that food inflation will ease from here on", Sunil Kumar Sinha, principal economist at the agency said in a note. The vegetables segment also witnessed a rise of 11.41 per cent. Apart from meat and fish segment, the pulses and products segment saw a rise of 14.44 per cent, while that of oils and fats rose 12.45 per cent and spices prices gained 12.34 per cent.

The composite food index rose by 16 per cent in August, compared to 15.48 per cent in July, according to the statistics office.



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