Retail Inflation Hits 10-Month Low: March 2024 Data
Retail Inflation Hits 10-Month Low: March 2024 Data

New Delhi: Retail inflation in India dropped to a 10-month low of 4.85% in March compared to 5.09% in February, according to government data released on April 12, 2024.Economists polled by Reuters had forecasted a slight decrease in retail inflation to 4.91%.

The inflation rate remained within the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) target range of 2-6%. Sequentially, there was a slight increase from -0.11% in the previous month to 0.16% in March. Meanwhile, India's industrial production surged to a four-month high of 5.7% in March, up from 4.2% in February, according to data from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Food inflation, which comprises nearly half of the consumer price basket, rose by 8.52% in March, slightly lower than the 8.66% increase in February. Fuel prices experienced a year-on-year decline of 3.2% in March, compared to a 0.77% fall in February. Rural and urban inflation rates stood at 5.45% and 4.14%, respectively, down from 5.51% and 5.89% in the same month last year.

Prices of cereals increased to 8.37% from 7.60% in the previous month, while meat and fish rose to 6.36% from 5.21% in March. However, both vegetable and pulse prices showed a slight decrease. Overall, food and beverage inflation stood at 7.68% in March, down from 7.76% in February.

Apart from food, fuel and light inflation further decreased from -0.77% in February to -3.24% in March, while housing inflation dropped to 2.77% from 2.88% sequentially. The latest inflation data follows the RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decision on April 5 to maintain the policy repo rate at 6.5% for the seventh consecutive time. According to the latest projection from the central bank, Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation is expected to be 4.5% for the current financial year.

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