Retail inflation rises to 10.91% in February

Retail inflation rises to 10.91% in February New Delhi: Retail inflation moved up for the fifth consecutive month to 10.91 percent in February -- remaining in the double-digit terrain for third month in a row -- on account of higher prices of vegetables, edible oil, cereals and protein-based items.

It was 10.79 percent in January. The inflation crossed doubled digit mark in December at 10.56 percent, against 9.90 percent in November.

The vegetables basket in February recorded the highest inflation of 21.29 percent among all the constituents that make the Consumer Price Index (CPI), according to data released Tuesday.

That was followed by cereals wherein inflation was 17.04 percent. Egg, meat and fish became costlier by 15.72 percent during the month. Inflation in oils and fats segment stood at 14.56 percent.

Besides, pulses became dearer by 12.39 percent and sugar turned more expensive by 12.10 percent on an annual basis.

Clothing and footwear witnessed 10.87 percent increase in prices during the month.

In urban areas, retail inflation rose to 10.84 percent in February from 10.73 percent in the previous month. The CPI for rural population increased to 11.01 percent during the month from 10.88 percent in January.

The data for wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation is expected on Thursday. The WPI figures for January stood at 6.62 percent, much higher than RBI's comfort level of 5-6 percent.

The Reserve Bank RBI is scheduled to announce mid-quarter review of monetary policy next week. It is widely expected that the central bank will further ease the policy to boost economic growth which touched a decade low of 4.5 percent in the third quarter of the current fiscal.

In its monetary policy last month, RBI had slashed the key interest rates by 0.25 percent and released Rs 18,000 crore additional liquidity into the system to perk up growth through reduced cost of borrowing.

RBI has forecast the March-end WPI inflation to be 6.8 percent.

Meanwhile, industrial output growth rate grew by 2.4 percent in January, compared to a growth of 1 percent in same month last year.

PTI