Indian retail inflation likely hit a 17-month high in December

Uptick in CPI inflation validates caution displayed by MPC ICRA

The surge in inflation and fiscal deficit confirms RBI's (reserve Bank of India) concern which made it keep the policy rates intact at 6 per cent in December.

If it's here to stay the Fed will not raise interest rates too high and may stop raising them altogether quite soon; if not it will probably continue raising them for quite some time, and raise them to a higher endpoint level - or terminal rate as it's called.

Commenting on India's retail inflation, which grew at 5.2 percent in December, Credit rating agency ICRA on Friday said that the extent of the uptick in IIP growth in November 2017 was far sharper than expected. The inflation has now picked up for three consecutive months as it stood at 3.58 per cent in October and 4.88 per cent in November. Core CPI increased 1.8 per cent in the 12 months through December, picking up from 1.7 per cent in November.

The 0.3 per cent monthly increase in the core CPI topped the 0.2 per cent median estimate of economists polled by Bloomberg. Over the past six months, core inflation has recorded more benign monthly readings of 0.1 percent or 0.2 percent.

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"Although the US CPI isn't the inflation measure that the Fed targets, the market arguably pays more attention to the CPI than to the Fed's preferred gauge, the personal consumption expenditure (PCE) deflator". This brought its year-over-year increase to 1.8 percent.

Jaikishan J Parmar, research analyst at Angel Broking said that increase in industrial production could be partially attributed to the base effect as November 2016 was the month when production had taken a hit due to note ban.

The cost of motor vehicle insurance increased 0.6%. Economists were expecting to see a 0.2% rise in price pressures.

Cheaper gasoline prices limited the increase in the overall CPI to 0.1 per cent in December after a 0.4 per cent rise in November. "The indexes for apparel, airline fares, and tobacco all declined over the month", said the Labor Department. Data for November was revised to show sales gaining 0.9 percent instead of the previously reported 0.8 percent increase.

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However, the mining sector production growth slowed to 1.1% from 8.1% a year ago.

Sales last month included a 1.2 per cent jump in receipts at gardening and building material stores and a 0.2 per cent rise for auto dealerships. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product.

The for final demand slipped 0.1 percent last month.

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