According to the government data, retail inflation rose to 6.93 per cent in July, mainly driven by rising prices of food items like vegetables, pulses, meat and fish. However, wholesale price-based inflation declined 0.58 per cent in July, even as food items turned costlier. “If you look at inflation...it’s primarily because of those supply-side frictions, but as local lockdowns are actually being reduced, these frictions should basically go down,” he said.
“Overall, the difference between wholesale and retail inflation is primarily due to supply-side factors which should decrease and therefore going forward even the retail inflation should ease,” Subramanian said.
There are fears that retail inflation would remain at an elevated level during the rest of the year limiting the scope for the RBI to further ease the benchmark interest rate.
The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by the RBI Governor has been given the mandate to maintain annual retail inflation at 4 per cent until March 31, 2021, with an upper tolerance of 6 per cent and a lower tolerance of 2 per cent. Retail inflation so far has been in the tolerance range of MPC except for breach in July. In June, retail inflation was 6.09 per cent. At the same time, WPI inflation in June was at (-) 1.81 per cent, while for the month of May and April it was (-) 3.37 per cent and (-) 1.57 per cent respectively. As far as growth is concerned, India’s economy suffered its worst slump on record in April-June, with the GDP contracting by 23.9 pc as the coronavirus-related lockdowns weighed on the already-declining consumer demand and investment.