September 2019: Retail Inflation rises

Retail inflation rose to a 14-month high in September on the back of rising food prices, while wholesale inflation dipped to a 39-month low during the same month providing a tough policy challenge.

Retail inflation as measured by the consumer price index rose an annual 4%, higher than the 3.3% in August. It is still below the RBI’s comfort level. Separate data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed inflation as measured by the wholesale price index slowed to 0.3% in September, lower than the 1.1% recorded in August.

Economists said that there has been a divergence between the wholesale and retail inflation with the wholesale price index steadily declining and the consumer price index inflation inching upwards since the last five months (barring July 2019). In September, the divergence between both the indices was over 360 basis points, much higher than the 220 bps in the previous month.

Inflation in wholesale food articles (7.5%) was higher than the inflation in retail food prices (4.7%) during the month.

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