Strain on households persists as inflation holds steady

Britain's annual inflation rate steadied at a five-year high of 3% in October as rising food prices offset falling motor fuel costs, official data showed today.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, in a latest report, said the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation was 3.28 per cent in September, 4.2 per cent in October previous year.

The CSO data says the October inflation for the food basket increased to 1.9 per cent. However, fruits were comparably cheaper in October on a sequential basis.

However, inflation in various household goods and services declined, implying the goods and services tax (GST) did not have much impact. It was (-) 22.51 per cent in September.

"There is, however, a low likelihood of a rate cut by the RBI in the immediate term", said Aditi Nayar, an economist at ICRA, an Indian arm of the rating agency Moody's, adding that inflationary expectations could remain high in the second half of the fiscal year that ends in March.

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"Firming up of crude prices has led to increase in fuel inflation to 6.36 per cent in October 17 from 5.56 per cent in September 17".

Higher inflation was also noted in protein rich items like oils and fats, eggs, and milk (and its products).

Sub-category of food and beverages during the month under consideration recorded a rise of 2.26 per cent over the same period a year ago.

Separately on Tuesday, data from research group Kantar showed that United Kingdom grocery price inflation for the quarter ending November 5 stood at 3.4 percent, the highest level in four years. The GST Council's recent decision to cut the rates on around 200 items is likely to further dampen the rate of price rise of these items.

Crude prices have rallied, sending Brent crude to its highest since June 2015, a worry given that India imports most of its energy needs.

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