India’s retail inflation jumped to a 15-month high of 7.44% in July from 4.81% a month ago due to surging food costs, government data released on Monday showed.

The price rise indicator was 7.79% in April 2022, the highest in eight years.

The July figures breached the tolerance level of the Reserve Bank of India for the first time in five months. The central bank is tasked with keeping inflation within 4%, with a tolerance band between 2% and 6%.

Food inflation, which accounts for nearly half of the overall consumer price basket, rose sharply to 11.51% in July from 4.49% in June. Vegetable prices soared 37.3% compared with a decline of 0.93% the previous month.

Prices of spices rose to 21.63% in July from 19.19% in June. Cereal inflation increased to 13.04% from 12.7% in June.

Last week, the Reserve Bank of India kept the repo rate unchanged at 6.50%. The repo rate is the interest rate at which the central bank lends money to commercial banks.

Central banks typically increase key lending rates at times of high inflation in economies. Higher key lending rates translate into high interest on loans disbursed by commercial banks. This, in turn, keeps a check on discretionary spending by consumers.

Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das had said that the spike in tomato prices and a rise in the prices of cereals and pulses has contributed to inflation. He added that going by past trends, vegetable prices were expected to fall in a few months.