Macro Economy

A secular rise in consumer prices

Raghuvir Srinivasan | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on December 14, 2015

inflation chart

infla chart

A close look at the consumer price inflation data for November shows that there has been a rise in prices of all the components save one — sugar, which showed a disinflation of 8.62 per cent.

The chief villain of the piece — a no-brainer though — was pulses which punched much above its weight of 2.38 per cent in the index. Pulses showed an inflation of 46.08 per cent. A rough, back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that pulses alone contributed about 1.10 percentage points of the total consumer price inflation (CPI) of 5.41 per cent.

Indeed, the inflation in prices of food commodities, with a combined weight of 45.86 per cent, was 6.08 per cent and accounted for more than half of the total consumer price inflation ( See table). The sub-head of housing, reflecting trends in rentals across the country, contributed as much as 0.50 percentage points to the total CPI.

The November CPI figure of 5.41 per cent is rather close to the RBI benchmark of 6 per cent by January and it is possible that December inflation data will take it uncomfortably close to the benchmark. The next event to watch for in the inflation calendar would be the rabi crop, according to DK Joshi, Chief Economist, Crisil. “Rabi sowing has not been very good and that’s what worries me. Its too early to take a call. We need to be cautious but there’s no need for panic,” he said.

The rabi harvest contributes to about half of our food grain production and almost the same level of pulses.

AP, most expensive

People living in Andhra Pradesh suffered a consumer price inflation of 8.83 per cent in November, which is the highest amongst all States and Union Territories.

Chhattisgarh was not too far behind with 8.52 per cent. In fact, only 13 of the 29 States and Union Territories reported CPI below the national level of 5.41 per cent.

Published on December 14, 2015
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