High food prices lift India's Dec retail inflation rate

Data furnished by the National Statistical Office showed that the Consumer Price Index rose by 5.59 per cent last month from 4.91 per cent in November 2021. Similarly, on YoY basis, the rise in last month's retail inflation was faster than the 4.59 per cent rise recorded for December 2020. The macro-economic data assumes significance as retail inflation has almost reached the range limit of the Reserve Bank of India's set target of 2-6 per cent.

High food prices accelerated India's December 2021 retail inflation rate on a sequential and year-on-year basis.

Data furnished by the National Statistical Office showed that the Consumer Price Index rose by 5.59 per cent last month from 4.91 per cent in November 2021.

Similarly, on YoY basis, the rise in last month's retail inflation was faster than the 4.59 per cent rise recorded for December 2020.

The macro-economic data assumes significance as retail inflation has almost reached the range limit of the Reserve Bank of India's set target of 2-6 per cent.

Region-wise, the CPI Urban rose to 5.83 per cent last month from 5.54 per cent in November 2021 and the CPI Rural spiked to 5.36 per cent from 4.29 per cent.

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As per the NSO data, the rate of rise in the Consumer Food Price Index, which measures the changes in retail prices of food products, increased to 4.05 per cent last month from 1.87 per cent in November 2021 and 3.41 per cent in December 2020.

In terms of CPI YoY inflation rate, pulses and products' prices jumped by 2.43 per cent in December 2021. Meat and fish prices rose by 4.58 per cent and eggs were dearer by 1.48 per cent.

Similarly, the overall price of food and beverages category was up 4.47 per cent and oils and fats prices rose 24.32 per cent.

On the other hand, vegetable prices declined by 2.99 per cent.

Furthermore, as per the official data, the inflation rate for fuel and light was at 10.95 per cent.

In addition, sub-group of clothing and footwear showed a price acceleration of 8.30 per cent.

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"With the unfavourable base manifesting itself, the CPI inflation surged to a six month high 5.6 per cent in December 2021 from 4.9 per cent in November 2021, despite the 0.4 per cent fall in the index in month-on-month terms in December 2021," ICRA Chief Executive Aditi Nayar said.

"The increase in the CPI inflation in December 2021 relative to the previous month was primarily led by food and beverages, and clothing and footwear, with a welcome moderation in the prints for fuel and light, and pan, tobacco etc. amidst a mild dip in miscellaneous items and housing."

Acuite Ratings & Research's Chief Analytical Officer, Suman Chowdhury, said: "Core inflation continues to be elevated and estimated at 6.2 per cent for Dec-21, almost at similar levels as in the previous month.

"High oil albeit slightly moderated and other commodity prices as well as the increasing industrial raw material shortages and its transmission to prices of manufactured products with gradual demand revival, is reflected in the elevated core inflation levels."

Brickwork Ratings' Chief Economic Adviser, M. Govinda Rao, said: "Food inflation is expected to increase further due to supply bottlenecks and adverse weather conditions.

"With inflation remaining within the comfort zone of RBI, there is no immediate concern for the MPC to continue with the accommodative stance though, it may continue with draining excess liquidity." .