Retail Inflation Slips to 5.1% in January; Industrial Growth at 3.8% in December

In January 2024, the cost of food and drinks went up by 8.3%, a slight decrease from the 8.70% recorded the previous month.

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) reported that consumer prices, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose by 5.1% in January. This is a drop from December 2023, when inflation hit a four-month high of 5.69%, following a 5.55% increase in November. In January last year, rural areas saw a 6.65% increase in retail prices, while urban areas experienced a 4.79% rise.

Rural inflation decreased to 5.34% in January from 5.93% in December, while urban inflation eased to 4.92% from 5.46% in January.

The cost of food and beverages increased by 8.3% in January 2024 compared to the previous month, marking the highest inflation rate in any category at that time.

During the first monetary policy committee review of 2024, Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das noted that food prices would continue to affect inflation. He stated, “Indicators show that the prices of essential vegetables may rise in the near future, which could push up CPI inflation. We need to keep a close eye on the progress of sowing key crops like wheat, spices, and pulses. High global sugar prices are also concerning.”

The RBI maintained its inflation forecast for 2023-24 at 5.4%. However, the projection for the current quarter (Q4) was revised down to 5% from 5.2%. For FY25, the inflation forecast remained unchanged at 4.5%, with Q1 at 5%, Q2 at 4%, Q3 at 4.6%, and Q4 at 4.7%.

Regarding the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth for December 2023, released by MoSPI, it stood at 3.8%, an improvement from the 2.4% recorded in November. November had the lowest IIP growth since March 2023, when it was 1.7%.

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