Firm food, fuel prices lift inflation in April

Retail inflation increases to 4.58% in April

As inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 3.18 per cent in April, India Inc on Monday said the cascading impact of rising crude oil prices would be one of the key worry areas for India's economy going forward.

The index for primary articles grew 1.41 percent annually in April and prices of food articles went up by 0.87 percent.

Separate data showed that inflation at the wholesale level accelerated sharply to 3.18% in April, driven by a surge in fuel prices and a rebound in food price inflation. However, inflation in the vegetable segment was lower at 7.29 percent in April compared to 11.7 percent.

Last month, the RBI brought down its January-March (2017-18) inflation projection to 4.5 percent from at 5.1 percent earlier.

In its first monetary policy review for the fiscal last month, RBI maintained status quo on interest rate citing inflationary concerns. April was the sixth straight month in which inflation was higher than the Reserve Bank of India's medium-term target of 4%.

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However, the price of radiators & coolers and chain (2 per cent each) and piston ring/piston & compressor (1 per cent) declined. However, potato showed the highest rise in price, at 67.94% in April 2018 as compared to April a year ago. As per the data available, the retail inflation rate on a year-on-year basis rose due to higher prices of food items like vegetables, milk-based products, eggs, meat and fish.

An increase in oil price of $10 a barrel could quicken inflation by about 1 percentage point and reduce economic growth by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points, a senior finance ministry official told Reuters, before the release of the Monday's data.

In addition, India Ratings and Research's Chief Economist Devendra Kumar Pant said: "Higher core-core inflation (non-food, non-fuel and light and non-transport and communication) shot to 34 months high at 6 per cent".

ICRA's principal economist Aditi Nayar said WPI inflation is expected to continue to rise over the remainder of this quarter.

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