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Inflation UPSC NOTE

 

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI)-based provisional headline print shows year-on-year retail price gains, across the broad spectrum of goods and services that combine to constitute the CPI, slowed fractionally to a 11-month low of 4.83% (April), from March’s 4.85%

  • This slowing, however, did little to mask the more disconcerting acceleration in food price gains. 

  • Inflation based on the Consumer Food Price Index (CFPI) quickened by 18 basis points from the preceding month’s year-on-year pace to a four-month high of 8.7%, with the month-on-month rate accelerating to 0.74%, from 0.16% in March. 

  • Rural consumers fared worse than their urban counterparts with both food and broader headline inflation reflecting faster price gains. 

  • The CPI-based reading for the hinterland was still well above the 5% mark at 5.43%, while inflation in urban areas was a sharply lower 4.11%, reflecting the widening divergence in the impact that price gains are having on those already struggling from the hit to the rural economy from a weak monsoon last year and sizzling temperatures this summer

  • Food price gains at 8.75% for rural consumers, a good 19 basis points faster than the 8.56% faced by urban consumers, is all the more disconcerting as food is an essential expenditure that every household must try and find the means to meet.

  • The pressure on food prices remains wide-ranging, with cereals — the heaviest weight in the food category — witnessing a 26 basis points quickening in inflation to 8.63%

  • Data from the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Price Monitoring Division shows the average price of rice was 14.3% steeper as on May 14 than on May 14, 2023. 

  • And the price of wheat was 6.4% higher from a year earlier, signalling that respite on the cereals front is unlikely in the near term. 

  • April’s soaring temperatures also kept inflation in vegetables, particularly vulnerable as perishable produce, in double digits for a sixth straight month at 27.8%. 

  • Price gains in pulses too offered little succour as they extended their stay in double digits to an eleventh month. 

  • And the Consumer Affairs department’s data show prices of all the five key dals — gram, tur, urad, moong and masoor — continued to rise appreciably as on May 14. 

  • With live water storage at the country’s 150 reservoirs dwindling to 27% of capacity as on May 9 and trailing both the year-earlier and 10-year average levels significantly, the outlook for price stability rides almost entirely on the forecast ‘normal monsoon’ delivering spatially and temporally well-distributed rains in the coming months.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Inflation UPSC NOTE
Inflation UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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