Retail inflation rose more than expected in October, posting an increase for a third consecutive month, but consumer prices are expected to remain under check given the strong fundamental factors.
A measure of retail inflation inched up to 5% in October, led largely by an increase in prices of pulses, which went up by over 33%.
According to a study by Assocham, India’s imports of pulses are estimated to reach 10 million tonnes in the current fiscal year, more than double the volume imported in 2014-15.
However, inflation is projected to remain under control amid falling crude oil prices and a stable exchange rate. Global crude oil prices traded at over 10-week lows, as oversupply issues continue to rattle the oil market.
“Fundamental factors — such as markedly better food price management, sustained idle industrial capacity, softer commodity prices and a largely stable rupee — augur well for inflation likely staying anchored in 2016 as well. We see little sign of demand-driven inflation,” said Barclays Capital in a note.
Falling inflation rate has allowed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to cut lending rates by 125bps to 6.75% so far this year. Nevertheless, the latest inflation data will likely lead the central bank to keep rates unchanged at its next meeting in December.
“The RBI continues to emphasise that its future actions will remain data-dependent. Accordingly, we think a prolonged period of softer inflation and moderation in inflation expectations — which remains likely, in our view — will offer space for further monetary easing. We forecast another 50bp of repo rate cuts during H1 2016,” said Barclays.