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India's March consumer price inflation eases to three-month low

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

New Delhi, April 13: India’s consumer price inflation for March eased to a three-month low of 5.17 percent, prompting India Inc. to seek a cut in lending rates from the apex bank. The consumer price index-based inflation (CPI) in March stood at 5.17 percent from 5.37 percent in February 2015. The March CPI was considerably down from 8.25 percent recorded in the corresponding month of 2014. It was 4.28 percent in December 2014. The CPI urban for March stood at 4.75 percent and rural at 5.58 percent. March food inflation stood at 6.14 percent from the previous months rate of 6.88 percent.

As per fil CPI inflation rates for February 2015 furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the CPI urban stood at 7.52 percent and rural at 6.43 percent. In March, vegetables became costlier by 11.26 percent over the corresponding month of 2014. However, sugar became cheaper by 2.61 percent year-on-year.

Milk and milk products became dearer by 8.35 percent and fruits became costlier by 7.41 percent. Cereals became costlier by 2.32 percent. Prices of pulses jumped by 11.48 percent. India Inc. welcomed the latest data saying that the moderation in prices should persuade the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to further ease policy rates. “Inflation continues to remain moderate and has in fact declined when compared to the previous month,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in a statement.

“This should persuade the RBI to resume its rate easing cycle to support growth without being too concerned about the impact on inflation,” Banerjee added. Another leading industry body PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the decline in retail inflation will strengthen the macro-economic environment.

“Notwithstanding the bad weather conditions in the month of March 2015, the fall in CPI inflation is inspiring and indicative of improved supply side conditions in the country,” said Alok B. Shriram, president, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. ZyFin Research’s Chief Economist Debopam Chaudhuri said that declining retail inflation along with softening borrowing rates would assist in shaping up consumer demand. (IANS)

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