Millennium Post

Retail, WPI inflation cool in Oct on softening food prices

Softening food prices helped ease retail as well as wholesale inflation in October, raising hopes that RBI may go in for another rate cut in its monetary policy review next month.

Retail or CPI inflation dipped to 14 month low of 4.20 per cent in October, while the one based on wholesale prices or WPI fell for the second consecutive month to 3.39 per cent in October.

While Consumer Price Index based retail inflation was at 4.39 per cent in September, the one tracking Wholesale Price Index was at 3.57 per cent.

Retail food price inflation in October was 3.32 per cent, lower than 3.88 per cent recorded in September. 

The WPI food inflation basket too showed moderation with inflation at 4.34 per cent in October, as against 5.75 per cent in September.

The easing inflation prompted industry chamber Ficci to demand reduction in interest rate to support investor as well as consumer sentiment.

“An immediate 0.50 per cent cut in repo rate should be considered by RBI as well as some measures may be introduced to provide easy finance for sectors like housing, automobiles and consumer durables,” Ficci President Harshavardhan Neotia said.

The all-powerful Monetary Policy Committee headed by RBI Governor Urjit Patel last month cut benchmark interest rates by 0.25 per cent to 6.25 per cent. The next RBI policy review is on December 7.

While Patel had signalled more tolerance towards inflation, the easing in CPI data was in line with the RBI’s inflation target of 5 per cent for March 2017.

ICRA Senior Economist Aditi Nayar said the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could further lower inflation in the coming months.

“The temporary shock to economic activity, including predominantly cash based transactions at mandis as well as construction activity, would have an impact on wholesale prices from mid-November 2016 onward,” Nayar said.

Industry demand for rate cut comes after data showed that factory output in the April-September period declined by 0.1 per cent compared to 4 per cent growth in the year-ago period.

Industry chamber CII said that going forward, inflation both at wholesale and retail level, is likely to remain muted as favourable monsoon would augment food supplies in the marketplace and international commodity prices would continue to remain under pressure.

“The RBI should continue with its rate easing cycle to support demand in anticipation of a benign inflationary outlook for the future,” CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

As per the data released today, WPI inflation in vegetables witnessed deflationary pressures and was recorded at (-)9.97 per cent in October. Inflation in this category had scaled a high of 28.45 per cent in July.This was aided by inflation data for onion, which was at (-)65.97 per cent.

Pulses inflation continued to rule high at 21.80 per cent in October, while that in fruits rose 6.45 per cent.

As per the retail or CPI data, inflation in vegetables was (-)5.74 per cent, while in pulses and fruits it was 4.11 per cent and 4.42 per cent.

Nayar further said that since CPI is dominated by food items, whose demand is unlikely to fall appreciably because of demonetisation. 

“We do not expect demonetisation to have a significant downward impact on CPI inflation in the immediate term”. 

CENTRE hikes wheat MSP by Rs 100/ quintal, THAT OF pulses by up to Rs 550/q

The government on Tuesday increased the minimum support price of wheat by Rs 100 to Rs 1,625 a quintal and pulses by up to Rs 550 per quintal to boost output of these rabi crops and check prices. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for all rabi (winter- sown) crops of 2016-17. 

“Wheat has been hiked by 6.6 per cent, barley 8.2 per cent and including bonus, gram 14.3 per cent, masur 16.2 per cent, rapeseed/mustard 10.4 per cent, safflower 12.1 per cent,” an official  said. Rabi crops will be marketed in 2017-18 starting April.
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