Published: Thu, March 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Retail inflation falls to 4.4 pc in Feb

Retail inflation falls to 4.4 pc in Feb

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. In February, the consumer-price index rose 0.2% from a month earlier, easing from a 0.5% gain in January, and was up 2.2% on the year.

The Labor Department says the consumer price index increased 0.2 per cent last month, after a sharp 0.5 per cent gain in January.

The output of capital goods, comprising machines used in factories, which reflects the real investment taking place in the economy went up by as much as 14.6 per cent in January, 2018 as against a decline of 0.6 per cent in the same month a year ago.

Economists say 2018 is likely to be the year that dormant United States inflation finally responds to a decade of steady job creation, falling unemployment and rising incomes. We have also noted price increases across some major food items during our food survey in the month.

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Core consumer prices were up by 1.8% year-over-year, unchanged from the annual rate of growth seen in the previous month. Food away from home grew 0.2%.

The increase in the core index raised the three-month annualized gain to 3.1 percent, the fastest in a decade, after a 2.9 percent reading in January.

But spending remains underpinned by a strong labor market, which is viewed by Federal Reserve officials as being near or a little beyond full employment.

"In this environment, we expect the Fed will raise interest rates four times this year". In contrast, the inflation rate for services (excluding energy) was 2.6 percent - well above the 2 percent target.

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India's retail inflation eased at 4.4 percent as prices of vegetables and other food and bevarages softened, data released by statistics office on Monday showed. Unemployment has hovered at 4.1 percent for five straight months.

The first chart is an overlay of Headline CPI and Core CPI (the latter excludes Food and Energy) since the turn of the century.

During the month, the highest increases were seen in prices of Fuel and lubricants for personal transport equipment, Maintenance and fix of personal transport equipment, Narcotics, Vehicle spare parts, Passenger transport by air, Clearing, fix and hire of clothing, Hospital services, Domestic services and household services and Glassware, tableware and household utensils. Housing costs increased 0.3% versus 0.2%, with owners' equivalent rent up 0.2% versus the prior 0.3%.

February's robust business price increases came on the heels of broad increases in January, suggesting businesses may soon need to raise price tags to compensate for heightened input costs.

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Prices of new motor vehicles fell 0.5 percent, the biggest drop since August 2009, after slipping 0.1 percent in January. The energy index rose 7.7% in the last twelve months.

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