Retail inflation eases to 4.4% in February; IIP grows 7.5% in January

India’s industrial output rose by 7.5% in January retail inflation declined to 4.44% in February

An Indian man works at a cycle spare parts factory in Ludhiana | Money Sharma AFP

India's industrial production rose by 7.5% in January 2018 compared to that in January 2017, data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed.

Meanwhile, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) growth in January 2018 jumped to 7.5% against the Bloomberg estimate of 6.4% and 7.1% in December 2017.

Besides, industry bodies yet again nudged the RBI to lower interest rate as retail inflation fell to a 4-month low of 4.44 percent in February. Consumer price inflation (CPI) was at 5.07% in January.

Major indicators of CPI eased down in the February 2018 month, with food & beverages at 3.38%, pan, tobacco & intoxicants at 7.34%, clothing & footwear at 5%, housing at 8.28%, fuel & light at 6.68% and miscellaneous at 3.85%.

The IIP growth in January this year was mainly on account of up-tick in manufacturing sector which constitutes 77.63 percent of the index.

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India's retail inflation fell to 4.44% in February driven by easing prices of food and vegetables. In January, retail prices of vegetables rose almost 30%.

Amongst use-based industries, sectors including capital goods (14.6 per cent), consumer durables (8 per cent) and non-durables (10.5 per cent) showed healthy expansion in January, in an indication that both investments by companies and retail demand are coming back on track. In all 16 out of 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed growth in January.

However, Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said it would be safe to assume that a lot of advantage has accrued because of the low base effect of the previous year when the growth had plunged following demonetisation.

"Given the outsized jump in apparel prices in January, we would not be surprised to see a negative print in February" for apparel prices, he said in a note last week.

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