New Delhi: Easing food and fuel prices helped pull down retail inflation to 14-month low of 4.20 per cent in October this year, strengthening the case for Reserve Bank of India rate cut next month.
The previous low of 3.74 per cent was recorded in August last year. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation was 4.39 per cent in September this year, an upward revision from previous official record of 4.31 per cent.
In October last year, retail inflation was at 5 per cent. Inflation in vegetables category was in the negative zone at (-)5.74 per cent in October this year, as against (-)7.21 per cent in September.
The rate of price rise in fruits slowed to 4.42 per cent (against 6.07 per cent), showed the data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Pulses inflation came in as a huge respite to consumers as it grew at 4.11 per cent, as against 14.33 per cent. However, protein rich items were costlier with inflation print at 6.16 per cent for meat; 9.42 per cent for eggs and 4.42 per cent for milk, as demand of these items normally goes up during winters.
Sugar was less costly with an inflation print of 23.62 per cent as against 25.77. However, cereals turned costly at 4.41 per cent. Overall, the Consumer Food Price Index was down at 3.32 per cent compared with 3.88 per cent in September.
The CPI based inflation in fuel and light segment was at 2.81 per cent in October as against 3.07 per cent a month ago. Rural retail inflation was 4.78 per cent in comparison to 5.04 per cent in September; for urban sector it stood at 3.54 per cent against 3.64 per cent.
The Reserve Bank will present its 5th bi-monthly policy statement on December 7. It takes into account CPI data as a key input to decide on its monetary policy review. RBI has targeted to contain inflation at 4 per cent by March 2017, with 2 per cent risk on either side.