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CPI inflation may decrease to 4.62% YoY as prices of perishables decline: Barclays

01:47 PM Oct 06, 2021 | IANS

Correction to prices of perishables in the food basket may result in ease of CPI inflation to 4.62 per cent year-on-year, Barclays said on Wednesday.

In a research report focused on India, the investment banker said that decline in prices of perishable foods should ease inflation further in September, but a diverse set of temporary shocks should push up core inflation.

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The elevated global commodity prices continue to exert upward pressure on India's import basket. Overall, we continue to forecast that CPI inflation will average 5.4 per cent in FY2021-22, with risks balanced, Barclays said in its report.

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The inflation projection of 4.62 per cent for September should be comforting to the government as several factors have emerged to push up the pressure in the economy. The September numbers never will further take inflation to RBI's comfort zone of closer to 4 per cent rate.

CPI inflation has maintained a southward movement for the past couple of months. It stood at 5.3 per cent in August and 5.59 per cent in July. Analysts feel that high base effect is also responsible for inflation numbers showing a downward trajectory. This should correct post November when the high base effect advantage of last year should vanish. Thereafter the projection is that inflation may again rise in the fourth quarter period of FY22.

"Overall, at 1.7 per cent y/y in September, food inflation would be at its lowest in 29 months. If the benign food price trend continues in October, food inflation could move lower again and push the headline inflation below 4 per cent y/y in October, owing in part to a high base," Barclays said.

But the core inflation in the month may remain at elevated levels and further rise in September due to pressure on energy prices particularly fuel prices that has seen rise to multi year high levels now.

Moreover, with India's second Covid wave largely under control, many state governments have allowed schools to reopen, which could result in a rise in tuition fees. In addition, temporary price increases could also be seen in motor vehicles (due to regulatory changes) and telecom services (due to ongoing price revisions).

"We also expect the increase in healthcare costs to remain sizeable. Overall, we expect core CPI inflation to rise to 6.4 per cent y/y in September," the banker said in its report.

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