Consumer Price Index: February Headline At 2.2%

Retail inflation falls Feb, industrial output increases in Jan

Retail inflation eases to 4.4% in February; IIP grows 7.5% in January

"While there is evidence of building inflationary pressures in certain components, the annual growth rates, especially for the core CPI, do not suggest a breakout in inflation yet", said Ben Ayers, senior economist at Nationwide, in Columbus, Ohio. Many economists expect that at some point it will upgrade its projection to four rate increases in 2018 amid optimism that the robust labor market will start boosting wage growth at least by the second half of this year.

Factory output grew at 7.1 percent in December, before hitting a 25-month high of 8.4 percent in November, last year, as compared with a modest growth of 3.5 percent during December, 2016.

Inflation for the fuel and light category was at 6.80 per cent in February (against 7.73 per cent in January).

Following the softening of consumer price index (CPI) inflation and a 7.5 percent hike in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) numbers, the State Bank of India opined that the latter may touch double-digit figures in February this year.

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However, the index for food remained unchanged due to index for food at home compensated the increase in the food away from home index.

In a sustained improvement in economic conditions, retail inflation in February eased as food prices softened, while industrial production soared in January. It grew by 8.7 per cent during the month as compared to 2.5 per cent in January 2017, showing signs of recovery in the economy. The chart is based on autoregressive analysis of monthly Consumer Price Index data, which was obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

In the wake of the Great Recession, 2 percent has been the Fed's target for core inflation.

The Labor Department reported that its Consumer Price Index rose 0.2 percent last month, in line with expectations, but had slowed compared with its 0.5 percent jump in January. In all 16 out of 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed growth in January.

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Gas prices and the cost of hospital services declined, but apparel prices and vehicle insurance rates spiked, which ticked the overall rate higher, Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic noted.

Analysts expect food inflation to rise because of the seasonal upturn in vegetable prices in the summer, an increase in minimum support price of summer crops that will reflect with a lag, and an upswing in global wheat prices.

The overall CPI increased 0.2% in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, after rising 0.5% in January and was up 2.2% from a year earlier. Even at the use based classification the growth is broad based as with the exception of intermediate goods all other segments have shown growth either in high single digit or greater than high single digit. It was much lower at 2.01 per cent in February 2017.

"Looking ahead, we expect that industrial performance would be on a clear up-slope with both consumption and investment picking up pace during the year", CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee said.

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