Retail inflation softens to 19-month low of 2.05% in January

Mae Love
February 13, 2019

Separate official data showed growth in industrial production - determined by Index of Industrial Production (IIP) - picked up to 2.4 per cent in December. As well as the sharp decline in energy prices, Whitehall statisticians said the drop in inflation was also fuelled by lower petrol prices and a decline in the cost of hotel rooms.

The biggest monthly fall for gas prices since the 1980s helped drag down United Kingdom inflation to the lowest level in two years in January as the government's energy price cap came into effect.

CPI is the main price gauge that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tracks.

The MPC, which mainly monitors retail inflation data, also revised down its inflation projections for the period from April to September to 3.2 percent to 3.4 percent, from 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent.

British consumers have been pressured by inflation after a slump in sterling of more than 10 percent against the dollar and euro since the Brexit referendum in June 2016.

Fuel and light inflation was 2.2 percent in January compared to 4.5 percent in December while housing inflation was 5.2 percent versus 5.32 percent a month ago.

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The retail inflation number was much lower than the market expectations, said Tushar Arora, a senior economist at HDFC Bank.

The core measure - which strips out volatile fuel and food costs - has remained sticky at around 6 percent and is a key reason economists cautioned against more rate cuts after last week's surprise easing. Growth in the mining sector declined 1%.

The UK inflation rate fell to 1.8% in January, the lowest in two years, the Office for National Statistics says.

Despite the fall in inflation since late 2017 and wages growing at their fastest in a decade, businesses have reported a downturn in consumer spending in recent months. "This has opened up space for policy action", RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said last week. The figures show rural incomes remain under pressure while consumers benefit from easing inflation.

Mike Hardie, head of inflation at the ONS, said: 'The fall in inflation is due mainly to cheaper gas, electricity and petrol, partly offset by rising ferry ticket prices and air fares falling more slowly than this time past year.

This year, other major central banks have also changed to a dovish stance in the face of rising worries about global growth and the impact of the U.S.

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