India's Retail Inflation Hits 11-Month Low as Food Prices Climb

India’s retail inflation dropped to an 11-month low of 4.83% in April 2024 due to lower fuel and non-food prices, but food inflation rose to 8.7%, driven by a heat wave and higher costs in key food segments.

Bhakti Kothari
New Update

India’s retail inflation plunged to an 11-month low of 4.83 per cent in April 2024, mainly owing to decline in prices of fuel and several other items in the non-food segment. The inflation rate for food items, however, continued to climb, according to data released by the National Statistical Office, or NSO.

Core inflation, which indicates fluctuation of costs in non-food and non-fuel categories, was down to 3.23 per cent in April 2024 from 3.5 per cent in March. Services inflation saw a downslide to 2.8 per cent. Experts predict core inflation to be benign for now. On the other hand, a recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) bulletin stated that the ongoing heat wave in many parts of India could result in continuing inflation of food prices.

The NSO data showed that inflation based on the Consumer Food Price Index has now remained above the 8-per cent mark for six consecutive months. The number increased to 8.7 per cent in April, while it stood at 8.52 per cent in March 2024 and at 3.84 per cent in April 2023.

Food and beverages inflation saw an overall surge of 7.87 per cent in April 2024, from 7.68 per cent in March. Almost every major food segment witnessed inflation, the NSO data showed. Prices of meat and fish saw a surge from 6.36 per cent in March to 8.17 per cent in April. Inflation in the cost of cereals was up from 8.37 per cent in March to 8.63 per cent in April. Vegetable saw a 27.8-per cent price rise in April 2024. For pulses, the inflation in prices was 16.84 per cent, compared with 17.71 per cent in March.

According to demographic division, rural India continues to have a greater surge of food inflation compared to the urban areas. In April 2024, rural food inflation was 8.75 per cent compared to 8.55 per cent in March and 3.89 per cent in April 2023. In contrast, food inflation in urban India rose 8.56 per cent in April from 8.41 per cent in March and 3.69 per cent a year ago, the NSO report said.