Lower food prices eased India's March retail inflation to 4.28 per cent, even as factory production growth slowed somewhat in February to 7.1 per cent, according to official data released on Thursday.
According to the data by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), retail inflation in March eased to 4.28 per cent from 4.44 per cent in February 2018. However, on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, the consumer price index (CPI) in March stood higher than the 3.89 per cent reported for March 2017.
Product-wise, a rise in prices of vegetables, milk-based products, eggs, meat and fish pushed the retail inflation higher on a YoY basis. Prices of vegetables in March were higher by a whopping 11.70 per cent, while those of milk-based products rose by 3.52 per cent.
Other notable categories such as cereals became dearer by 2.18 per cent and meat and fish prices recorded a rise of 3.17 per cent.
In contrast, the category of 'pulses and products' became cheaper by (-) 13.41 per cent and that of 'sugar and confectionery' by (-) 1.61 per cent.
The sub-category of food and beverages during the month under consideration recorded a rise of 3.01 per cent over the same period last year.
Among non-food categories, the "fuel and light" segment's inflation rate accelerated to 5.73 per cent in March.
In terms of industrial production, the CSO data revealed that the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) marginally declined in February to 7.13 per cent from a rise of 7.39 per cent in January 2018 and a mere growth of 1.2 per cent in the corresponding period of last year.
As per the IIP data, the sequential slowdown in factory output was mainly on account of lower production in the mining sector.
On a YoY basis, the manufacturing sector expanded by a healthy 8.7 per cent, while the mining sector's output dipped by (-) 0.3 per cent and the sub-index of electricity generation increased by 4.5 per cent.
The data disclosed that among the six use-based classification groups, the output of primary goods which has the highest weightage of 34.04 grew by 3.7 per cent. The output of intermediate goods which has the second highest weightage rose by 3.3 per cent.
Similarly, consumer non-durables's output edged-higher. It rose by 7.4 per cent and that of consumer durables by 7.9 per cent.
In addition, infrastructure or construction goods' output increased by 12.6 per cent and that of capital goods by 20 per cent.
"In terms of industries, fifteen out of the twenty three industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month of February 2018 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year," said the CSO report on the "Quick Estimates" of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for February.
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