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Inflation rises owing to surge in food, fuel prices

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A man weighs vegetables at a popular market in Caracas on October 24, 2013. Venezuela, which is highly dependent on basic commodity imports, will massively boost its food and basic supplies imports in the next two months to counter shortages and high inflation, Vice president for the economy Rafael Ramirez said Wednesday. Since President Nicolas Maduro took office on April 19, Venezuela has seen a cyclical increase in shortages of sugar, coffee, oil, milk and toilet paper, among other products. Meanwhile, annual inflation in September soared to 49.4 percent, the highest in the past 13 years, according to official data.  AFP PHOTO / JUAN BARRETO        (Photo credit should read JUAN BARRETO/AFP/Getty Images)

By NewsGram Staff Writer

India’s retail inflation surged to 5.40 percent in June from 5.01 percent in May due to a rise in food and fuel prices propelled, official data showed on Monday.

The data furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the retail, or the consumer price index (CPI) inflation, in the corresponding month of 2014 stood at 6.77 percent.

According to the CSO data, the CPI-urban for June inched higher to 4.55 percent from 4.41 percent in May. The June CPI-rural, meanwhile, jumped to 6.07 percent from 5.52 percent in May.

The main cause for the rise in June inflation was attributed to costlier food items.

The “Food and beverages” sub-indice in the CPI has the highest weightage of about 45.86. It rose to 5.48 percent from 4.80 percent in May.

However, food inflation during June 2015 was lower in comparison to the corresponding month of 2014, when it stood at 7.21 percent.

The food inflation in the urban areas touched 5.24 percent from 4.48 percent in May. The food inflation burden for the rural households in June rose to 5.61 percent from 4.74 percent in May.

The food inflation in rural and urban areas during the corresponding month of 2014 stood at 8.05 percent and 5.62 percent, respectively.

Prices of protein based food items like pulses, milk, egg, meat and fish accelerated. Pulses became costlier by 22.24 percent on an year-on-year (YoY) basis.

Milk and milk-based products became dearer by 7.18 percent. Prices of meat and fish appreciated by 6.99 percent. Cost of eggs rose by 5.09 percent.

Spices became expensive by 9.71 percent. Vegetables’ prices were up by 5.37 percent.

However, sugar and confectionery costs came down by 8.55 percent in the month under review on an Year-on-Year(YoY) basis.

Fuel and light products which constitutes 6.84 percent of the CPI grew by 5.92 percent in June.

The uptick in the CPI will be a major concern for the Indian industry, as it belies the hope of a future rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

The recent slowdown in the factory output, revealed by the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) data released on Friday and good progress of monsoon, had renewed hopes of India Inc. for another rate cut from RBI during its monetary policy review in August.

“CPI breaching the 6 percent comfort level in rural India is a concern. Uptick in retail prices in urban and rural regions in June has shrunk RBI’s window for cutting rates further,” said Debopam Chaudhuri, chief economist, ZyFin Research.

A retarded growth in manufacturing output slowed India’s overall industrial production expansion to 2.7 percent for May — against 4.1 percent in April.

The RBI had lowered its short-term lending rate by 25 basis points in its monetary policy review in June.

That time RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan said the central bank’s next move will be data-dependent. It will also keep an eye on how monsoon progresses and the steps taken by the government to mitigate its negative effects, Rajan had added.

(With inputs from IANS)

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RBI May Recoup Reserves, Strong Inflow of Foreign Funds And Benign Oil Prices Strengthening Indian Currency

A major factor supporting the rupee is the strong prospect of better fund flows from abroad.

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RBI
Experts now see a chance for the RBI to recoup the reserves it spent in 2018 defending the rupee. Pixabay

A strong inflow of foreign funds and benign oil prices have strengthened the Indian currency but what has worked best for the rupee is the fading impact of war hysteria. Experts now see a chance for the RBI to recoup the reserves it spent in 2018 defending the rupee.

Putting a number to this, Gurang Somaiya, currency analyst at Motilal Oswal, said: “It is possible that RBI may limit some of the appreciation and recoup some of its lost reserves… but it may only come if the rupee strengthens to around Rs 68.20 a dollar.”

Explaining the factors at play, Anindya Banerjee, Deputy Vice President for Currency and Interest Rates with Kotak Securities, said: “Post-Abhinandan (shooting down of the IAF pilot), geopolitical risk has subsided which has boosted investor sentiments.”

oil prices
The decline in crude oil, which accounts for a large import bill for India, directly affects the exchange rates.
Pixabay

Banerjee added that the gains of the rupee will help the Reserve Bank of India recoup reserves which it lost last year in a bid to arrest its fall.

“The rupee appreciated and closed at 70.14 for the last week on the back of strong flows and fading impact of war hysteria,” said Sajal Gupta, Head Forex and Rates, Edelweiss Securities.

In addition, Gupta said that some “big flows are lined up next week. Maybe Arcelor Mittal money can hit the Indian markets which can lead to some more appreciation towards 69.50 unless the RBI intervenes”.

However, the rising dollar index is causing nervousness and any breakout may lead to a reversal in the rupee’s trend, said Gupta. Somaiya said that RBI may choose not to intervene as the central bank’s prime aim was to arrest volatility.

“Yes the rupee is inching below the 70-a-dollar mark but then the (general) election can cause massive volatility. Also, it is seen that a lot of central banks are getting into a dovish stance owing to the fears of global slowdown.”

The RBI had to stop the slump in the rupee late last year after it touched an all-time high of 74.47 on October 11 following the rising crude oil prices.

dollar
However, the rising dollar index is causing nervousness and any breakout may lead to a reversal in the rupee’s trend, said Gupta. Somaiya said that RBI may choose not to intervene as the central bank’s prime aim was to arrest volatility. Pixabay

The Brent Crude touched $86-a-barrel mark in early October but started to ease following the US decision to exempt 8 countries, including India and China, to continue buying oil for six months from Iran despite sanctions.

The decline in crude oil, which accounts for a large import bill for India, directly affects the exchange rates.

A major factor supporting the rupee is the strong prospect of better fund flows from abroad.

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“Inflows into India have clearly turned positive since the end of January. The flows in February at Rs 17,720 crore is the highest since November 2017. The trigger for this inflows is the dovish statement that came from the Fed at the end of January,” said V.K. Vijayakumar, Chief Investment Strategist at Geojit Financial Services.

India’s foreign exchange reserves stood at $401.78 billion as against $393.13 billion in November last year. As the data suggests, with improving macros, the forex is already on the recovery path. (IANS)