Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

CPI inflation eases to four-month low of 4.44% in February 2018

CPI inflation eases to four-month low of 4.44% in February 2018

Meanwhile, retail inflation based on consumer price index (CPI) fell to a four-month low of 4.44 per cent in February due to cheaper food articles and lower fuel cost.

India's industrial production rose by 7.5% in January 2018 compared to that in January 2017, data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed.

The inflation rate is in below expectations as a Reuters survey of 30 economists had predicted it to come at 4.80 per cent.

After this, analysts believe that Reserve Bank of India would hold rates steady during its review meet.

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January saw annual consumer inflation of 5.1 percent, off the December figure of 5.2 percent, which was the highest rate in 17 months.

The industrial output had increased 7.1% in December 2017 compared to the output in December 2016. The seasonal trend of rising food prices as the summer approaches, may prevent a further dip in food inflation in the ongoing month.

Capital goods, an indicator of investment activity, showed a sharp increase in output by 14.6 per cent in January 2018 as against a decline of 0.6 per cent a year ago.

The cumulative Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth for the April-January period of the current fiscal over the corresponding period of the previous year stood at 4.1%, the CSO said.

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The country's industrial production, however, rose by 7.5% in January, backed by growth in manufacturing, consumer and capital goods sectors. It grew by 8.7 per cent during the month as compared to 2.5 per cent in January 2017, showing signs of recovery in the economy. Manufacturing alone constitutes 77.63 per cent of the index. However, mining grew by a mere 0.1 per cent in the month. "Domestic pump prices of petrol and diesel rose sharply in January, reflecting lagged pass-through of the past increases in worldwide crude oil prices".

Analysts at Standard Chartered expect this lower growth rate to sustain for 2018, giving an annual forecast of 4% year-on-year from 6.3% last year, as "slowing domestic demand more than offsets upward pressure from continued capacity cuts". Also heartening is the performance of consumer durable sector, which has recorded a growth of 8 per cent for the first after demonetisation.

In terms of industries, 16 out of 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed positive growth during January, 2018.

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