A vendor handles an apple at fruit stall in Gangtok, Sikkim, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

India Retail Inflation Quickens Ahead of RBI Rate Decision

(Bloomberg) -- India’s retail inflation in April accelerated more than estimated, raising the possibility the central bank may tighten policy next month.

Key Points

  • Consumer prices climbed 4.58 percent in April from a year earlier, the statistics ministry said in a statement in New Delhi on Monday
  • That compares with the 4.40 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 41 economists and March’s 4.28 percent pace
  • Food price index rose 2.8 percent after previous month’s 2.81 percent rise
  • Wholesale prices rose 3.18 percent in April, the commerce ministry said earlier in the day, faster than the 2.9 percent forecast in a separate survey

Big Picture

The continuing surge in prices of crude oil, India’s biggest import, could add to the Reserve Bank of India’s concerns about keeping inflation in check. The central bank could turn hawkish as elevated fuel prices along with a weaker rupee may widen the trade deficit and squeeze government finances.

The central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee, which stood pat at the last meeting, is due to review policy rates on June 5 and 6.

The Details

  • Food and beverage prices rose 3 percent, led by a jump in fruits and vegetables prices
  • Clothing and footwear rose 5.1 percent
  • Fuel and lighting rose 5.24 percent
  • Housing rose 8.5 percent

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