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Inflation at 7-month high on higher food, fuel prices

15 November 2017

The retail inflation rose up to seven-month high to 3.58 in October due to the high prices of food items, especially vegetables, eggs, milk and their products, and tobacco products and housing sector.

The spike in consumer price inflation was driven mostly by a doubling of vegetable price index to 7.47 per cent from 3.92 per cent in September, data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed. However, fruits were comparably cheaper in October on sequential basis.

"There is, however, a low likelihood of a rate cut by the RBI in the immediate term", said Aditi Nayar, an economist at Icra adding that inflationary expectations could remain high in the second half of the fiscal year that ends in March. It was lower by 22.51 per cent in September. "Similarly, the policymakers should check and address prices of products, including paddy, that are hovering at higher levels and are also of national importance", said Rawat.

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"Firming up of crude prices has led to increase in fuel inflation to 6.36 per cent in October 17 from 5.56 per cent in September 17".

Pan, tobacco and intoxicants saw high inflation and settled at 6.91 per cent. Clothing and footwear (4.76), housing (6.68), and fuel and light (6.36) were costlier on sequential basis.

This could stop the Reserve Bank (RBI) from cutting rates in its policy review next month to spur falling industrial growth.

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The price rise in services appear to have been impacted by the implementation of GST as most services are taxed at 18 per cent compared to 14.5 per cent under the previous service tax regime.

The government is releasing consumer price inflation data since January 2012 based on combined data for rural and urban consumers.

Separately on Tuesday, data from research group Kantar showed that United Kingdom grocery price inflation for the quarter ending November 5 stood at 3.4 percent, the highest level in four years.

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Inflation at 7-month high on higher food, fuel prices