NEW DELHI: India’s retail inflation ticked up to 2.86 per cent in March as consumers spent more to buy food items and fuel, government data showed on Friday.
The consumer price index (CPI)-based retail inflation was at 2.57 per cent in February this year. On yearly basis, it was 4.28 per cent in March 2018.
Retail inflation remains well within the RBI’s comfort level of 4 per cent for about eight months now, coming down from 4.17 per cent in July 2018.
The overall food inflation, measured as change in prices of articles in food basket, rose to 0.3 per cent in March, against (-) 0.66 per cent in February, data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed.
In ‘fuel and light’ category, the rate of price rise in March climbed to 2.42 per cent from 1.24 per cent in February.
Fruits and vegetables continued to register deflation at (-)5.88 per cent and (-)4.90 per cent, respectively.
For cereal and products, the rate of price rise slowed to 1.25 per cent from 1.32 per cent, as per the data.
The Reserve Bank has cut the retail inflation forecast to 2.9-3 per cent for the first half of the current fiscal, mainly due to lower food and fuel prices as well as expectation of a normal rainy season.
For the rest half of 2019-20, it has forecast the retail inflation in the range of 3.5-3.8 per cent.
Retail inflation is the key input for the RBI to decide on its key bi-monthly policy decision.
The RBI reduced the key policy rate by 25 basis points to 6 per cent in its first monetary policy outcome earlier this month.