March 18, 2018

Retail inflation rises to 5.21 percent in December

13 January 2018, 05:09 | Austin Hogan

Retail inflation rises to 5.21 percent in December

The measure of consumer price inflation the CPI index rose 5.21 per cent in December from a year earlier the Ministry of Statistics said on Friday

But they didn't change their projections for gradually raising interest rates, citing in part restrained inflation pressures, and they penciled in three rate increases for this year after raising the benchmark federal-funds rate to a range between 1.25% and 1.5% last year.

The US central bank has scheduled three rate rises this year and these latest figures have seen the pound reach its highest level against the dollar since the European Union referendum.

The pickup in the core CPI data may help reinforce expectations that the Fed is making progress on stable inflation, one of its twin goals along with maximum employment.

The biggest gains came in the category known as "nonstore retailers" which rose 1.2 percent in the month and were up almost 13 percent compared to the same month of a year ago.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast core CPI rising 0.2 percent month-on-month and holding steady at 1.7 percent on an annual basis.

"Consumer price inflation has moved up on expected lines and is likely to inch up in the coming months", consulting multinational Deloitte's Senior Economist Richa Gupta said in a statement.

The Fed's 2% annual inflation target is based on officials' preferred price measure, the Commerce Department's personal-consumption expenditures price index.

The dollar briefly trimmed losses against a basket of currencies after the CPI data, but later slumped to a four-month low.

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The Consumer Price Index inflation for rural areas was 5.27% in December 2017, while that for urban areas was 5.09% as compared to that in December 2016.

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. In the month of November 2017, IIP grew by 8.4% from 2.2% in the previous month. The cost of motor vehicle insurance increased 0.6 per cent. Apparel prices, however, fell 0.5%.

In December, petrol prices fell 2.7% after rebounding 7.3% in November. While cost of eggs surged 9.48%, prices of pulses declined by as much as 23.47%, and spices by 2.21%.

However, monthly core inflation, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.3%, following a 0.1% advance in November.

"The cumulative growth for the period April-November 2017 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 3.2 per cent", the CSO report on the "Quick Estimates" of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for November said. Data for November was revised to show sales gaining 0.9 percent instead of the previously reported 0.8 percent increase.

In a separate report Friday, the Commerce Department said a holiday season jump in online shopping sent United States retail sales higher in December. Food away from home grew 0.2%. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. The cost of both hospital and doctor visits increased 0.3%. The consumer durables sector grew 2.5%, recovering from October's 6.89% contraction.

PHD Chamber President Anil Khaitan said that as the teething problems of GST are nearly over, the growth in industrial output has come with a strong rebound and it looks forward to the growth becoming stronger in the coming quarters.

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