India’s retail inflation rose to 5.54% in November – only the second time since July 2018 when the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target has been breached. The target of 4% inflation was breached in October as well, when retail prices grew 4.62%.
The November inflation is the highest since 6.07% in July 2016, according to PTI.
Government data released on Thursday showed that retail inflation, measured using the Consumer Price Index, in rural areas stood at 5.27%, and at 5.76% in urban areas in November. The inflation in the Consumer Food Price Index stood at 10.01%, compared to 7.89% the month before. Food prices rose 8.83% in rural areas and 12.26% in urban areas.
Barring July this year, when there was a slight dip, retail inflation has been rising since February. This year, the RBI, in successive monetary policy decisions, has cut the repo rate by a cumulative 135 basis points to a nine-year low. It was not until the last monetary policy earlier this month that it decided to hold the rate.
The RBI is responsible for framing India’s monetary policy, and sets interest rates to keep inflation in control while pushing for growth. A rate increase is typically expected to curb inflation when prices are on the rise. The central bank targets a consumer price index-based inflation of 4%, with a tolerance limit of 2% on either side.