New Delhi: In a major relief to consumers, India's retail inflation rate showed a downward trend, touching an 18-month low of 2.19 per cent in December 2018 on account of moderation in the prices of fuel, fruits and vegetables. In November last year, the inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 2.33 per cent as compared to 5.21 per cent a year ago in December 2017.
In June 2017, inflation was as low as 1.46 per cent. The contraction in inflationary pressure raises hope for a cut in the lending rate by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) during the monetary policy review meeting, scheduled to take place next month. According to Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the annual rate of inflation, based on monthly wholesale price index (WPI) stood at 3.80 per cent (provisional) for December 2018 (over December 2017) as compared to 4.64 per cent.
The WPI for 'food articles' group declined by 1.4 per cent to 144.0 (provisional) from 146.1 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of fruits and vegetables (8 pc), peas/chawali (7 pc), condiments and spices (2 pc) and paddy (1 pc). The index for 'non-food articles' group declined by 0.1 per cent to 124.5 (provisional) from 124.6 (provisional) for the previous month due to lower price of guar seed (6 per cent), raw cotton and castor seed (3 per cent each), groundnut seed (2 per cent) and raw rubber, rape, mustard seed and raw silk (1 pc each).
According to official details, the WPI for fuel and power group also declined by 5.9 per cent to 103.5 (provisional) from 110.0 (provisional) for the previous month, while the index for manufactured products declined by 0.4 per cent to 118.3 (provisional) from 118.8 (provisional) for the previous month.