Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has revised the Base Year of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from 2010=100 to 2012=100 with effect from the release of indices for the month of January 2015.
"When it comes to consumer inflation, 4.4% in February may be lower than January, the undercurrent remains biased on the upside, making RBI disinclined towards any rate cut, though the industry would like it to happen", it said in a statement.
India's factory output grew at a robust pace for the third straight month, at 7.5% in January, while retail inflation surprisingly slowed for the second consecutive month to 4.4% in February, signalling that the economy may be set on a strong recovery path.
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Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted February´s rate would ease to 4.8 percent from 5.1 percent in January. Inflation rate for "pan, tobacco and intoxicants" eased to 7.34 per cent in February, while housing inflation was recorded at 8.28 per cent in February. Food price inflation was at 4.7% in January. Retail prices of pulses, sugar and spices contracted in February. "The eventual rabi harvest, distribution of the 2018 monsoon and the operationalisation of the proposals made in the Union Budget for FY2019 including the launch of Operation Greens and the augmentation of minimum support prices, would impact the trajectory of food inflation going forward...the sharp dip in retail inflation in February 2018 has reinforced our expectation that the MPC would keep the repo rate unchanged in the upcoming policy review in April 2018", Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist, ICRA said. Both were lower than in January.
But, on a cumulative basis, the IIP expanded by 4.1 per cent between April and January 2017-18, which was lower than the 5 per cent growth in the same period a year ago. It grew 8.7 per cent during the month compared with 2.5 per cent in January 2017. Consumer non-durable goods, which are mainly fast moving consumer goods, also recorded an increase of 10.5 per cent as against a growth of 9.6 per cent past year.
In terms of industries, 16 out of the 22 industry groups in the manufacturing sector showed positive growth in January.
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces a general election next year, is trying to push up economic growth while keeping inflation under control.
As per use-based classification, the growth rates in January 2018 over January 2017 are 5.8 per cent in primary goods, 4.9 per cent in intermediate goods and 6.8 per cent in infrastructure/ construction goods.
Experts suggest the consistent growth in the industrial production could boost the overall economic growth in the fourth quarter.
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However, the mining sector saw a flat growth of 0.1% compared to 8.6% a year ago.