NEW DELHI: Retail inflation fell for the second consecutive month and eased to 24-month low of 8.79% in January mainly due to a drop in food prices.Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December was 9.87% down from 11.16% in the previous month.
Inflation in the food and beverages segment was 9.9% in January compared to 12.16% in the previous month, as per the official data released Wednesday.
It is lowest rate of inflation since 7.65% in January 2012.
Vegetable prices on annual basis rose 21.91% in January, a slower pace than 38.76% recorded in the previous month, it said.
Fruit prices rose 15.6% as compared to 14.64% in December.
Pulses were dearer by 2.59%, cereals by 11.42% and milk products by 9.82% in January.
Protein-rich items such as eggs, meat and fish became dearer by 11.69% in January. The rate of inflation in this segment was slightly higher at 12.64% in December.
The retail inflation was in double digits in October and November.
The data showed that the provisional inflation for rural and urban areas for January was 9.43% and 8.09%, respectively.
Data on inflation based on the wholesale price index is scheduled for release on Friday.
The Reserve Bank factors both, retail and wholesale price based, inflation data in its monetary policy.
Recently, a RBI appointed committee has suggested the central bank should focus on CPI inflation and aim to bring it down to 8% by January next year, and to 6% by January 2016.
Shifting its stance of monetary policy towards targeting retail inflation, the RBI in its monetary policy said inflation an “inequitable tax” and may exceed 8% by March end.