Strain on households persists as inflation holds steady

Retail Inflation touches 7-month high of 3.58% in October

Consumer price inflation based on the consumer price index stood at 3.58 per cent in October 2017, the highest since the 3.89 per cent level hit in March this year.

Assocham Secretary General D.S. Rawat said the rise in wholesale price index (WPI) numbers may have corresponding upward impact on consumer price index (CPI) which may limit the possibility of rate cut by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which has already shown concern for increase in inflation in the future.

Meanwhile following the latest inflation data, "there was a very slight initial drop in the value of sterling as markets anticipate that inflation may not peak beyond 3.0 percent and future interest rate rises may not therefore need to be imminent", Richard Stone, chief executive at stockbrokers The Share Centre, said in a note to clients.

The CPI inflation for October rose to 3.58 per cent from 3.28 per cent reported for September, data released on Monday revealed. The price of food shot up mainly due to unexpected rains, which destroyed crops. However, fruits were comparably cheaper in October on sequential basis. Within food inflation, the price of vegetables, milk and milk products contributed to the increase. The average price of the Indian basket of crude oil rose to $56.06 a barrel in October from $54.52 in September.

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Fall in pulses price keeps rise modest; housing, fuel up.

Pan, tobacco and intoxicants saw high inflation and settled at 6.91 per cent. Clothing and footwear (4.76), housing (6.68), and fuel and light (6.36) were costlier on sequential basis.

During the 23rd Goods and Services Tax (GST) council meeting, tax rates were lowered for 213 items. Economists said they expect the RBI to hold rates.

The absence of another rate rise in the coming months would ease the pressure on households, which are seeing wages growth failing to keep pace with high inflation.

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