India’s retail inflation, measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), eased to 4.29 per cent during the month of April, from 5.52 per cent during March.
Separately, India’s factory output, measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), rose 22.4 per cent in March.
The figures were released by the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) on Monday.
According to a recent Reuters poll, retail inflation was expected to have eased to a three-month low of 4.20 per cent in April.
This is the fifth straight month that the CPI data has come within the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) upper margin of 6 per cent. The government has asked the RBI to maintain retail inflation at 4 per cent with a margin of 2 per cent on either side for a five-year period ending March 2026.
The easing of the retail inflation can be attributed to the softening of food prices. The inflation in the food basket (Consumer Food Price Index, or CFPI) eased to 2.02 per cent in the month of April, down from 4.87 per cent in March, the data revealed.
The month-on-month fall in the food basket was led by the softening of vegetable prices, which fell -14.18 per cent in April, while cereals and products slipped -2.96 per cent, the data showed.
Prices of oils and fats, however, rose 25.91 per cent, while that of meat and fish rose 16.68 per cent.
The factory output witnessed a growth of 22.4 per cent on-year to 143.4 during the month of March, data showed.
The IIP had shrunk (-)18.7 per cent in March 2020.
In the fiscal year 2020-21 (April-March), the industrial sector saw a contraction of (-) 8.6 per cent, compared to a (-)0.8 per cent fall the previous year, the data showed.
Industrial production has been badly hit since March last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.