India’s November retail inflation eases below 6% for the first time this year By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People shop for an air conditioner inside an electronics store in Mumbai, India, May 19, 2022. Picture taken May 19, 2022. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s annual retail inflation eased below its central bank’s upper tolerance level for the first time this year in November, on the back of softer rise in food prices, easing pressure on policymakers.

The annual retail inflation rose 5.88% in November from 6.77% in the previous month, government data showed on Monday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted annual inflation of 6.40% in November.

Food prices, which account for nearly 40% of the CPI basket, eased to 4.67% in November, compared with 7.01% in October.

Retail inflation has been above the upper end of the Reserve Bank of India’s 2%-6% tolerance band since January, triggering 225 basis points of interest rate rise, so far taking it to 6.25%.

Last week the RBI raised the policy rate by 35 basis points following three successive 50-basis-point rises.

“Favourable base effect and seasonal correction in food prices drove the Nov CPI inflation to a 10-month low of 5.88%,” Elara Capital’s Garima Kapoor said.

Commodity price correction and seasonal softening in food prices led by vegetables are likely to be key tailwinds for the inflation trajectory, she added.

Excluding the volatile food and energy components, the core inflation is estimated to be between 6% and 6.26% in November, according to three economists’ estimates, compared to 5.9% to 6.3% in October.

RBI recently wrote a letter to the government explaining the reasons for failing to contain inflation within the set band for three successive quarters. The letter has not been made public so far.

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