Consumers get relief from vegetable-oil prices, retail inflation declines to 18-month low in April


New Delhi : Retail inflation eased to an 18-month low of 4.7 per cent in April due to cheaper food items like vegetables and oil. Government data released on Friday said that this is the second consecutive month when inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is in the comfortable range (two to six percent) of the Reserve Bank of India. RBI has got the responsibility of keeping inflation at 4 per cent with a variation of 2 per cent. According to the data, CPI-based retail inflation was 5.66 per cent in March this year and 7.79 per cent in April a year ago. The retail inflation rate in the month of April is at the lowest level after October 2021. At that time it was 4.48 percent.

According to the National Statistical Office (NSO), the inflation rate in food articles stood at 3.84 per cent in April, compared to 4.79 per cent in March. A year ago it was 8.31 percent in the month of April. Food articles account for almost half of the consumer price index. Retail inflation rose from 5.7 per cent in December 2022 to 6.4 per cent in February this year due to increase in prices of cereals, milk and fruits etc.

Oil-vegetable and meat-fish cheaper in April

According to the latest data of NSO, the prices of oils and fats decreased by 12.33 percent on an annual basis in the month of April. On the other hand, the prices of vegetables decreased by 6.5 percent, meat and fish by 1.23 percent. On the other hand, spices, cereals & products and milk & milk products became costlier.

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Inflation at 18-month low

ICRA Chief Economist Aditi Nayar said that inflation came down to an 18-month low in April. The main reason for this is the lower than normal temperature with a higher comparative base. Due to this, there was no seasonal rise in the prices of perishable items. He said that ICRA estimates that retail inflation will remain in the range of 4.7 percent to 5.0 percent in May-June this year. According to Nair, with retail inflation below five per cent and low growth in the index of industrial production, it is expected that the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) may keep the policy rate unchanged in the next meeting.

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