Retail inflation, measured on the basis of Consumer Price Index, stood at 6.09 per cent in the month of June, according to government data released on Monday. This is beyond the 6 per cent upper margin mandated by the Reserve Bank of India.
Government had not released headline retail inflation data for April and May this year, citing lack of price data due to coronavirus lockdown. However, in April, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) had revised CPI inflation numbers for March to 5.84 per cent from 5.91 per cent.
Meanwhile, inflation in food basket, or Consumer Food Price Index, eased to nine-month low of 7.87 per cent. It was recorded at 9.2 per cent in the month of May.
"In view of the preventive measures and announcement of nation-wide lockdown by the Government to contain spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the price collection of Consumer Price Index (CPI) through personal visits of price collectors was suspended. During the lockdown period, prices were collected through telephonic call from the designated outlets in selected markets, which was supplemented by information collected during the personal purchase of field staff for the items being transacted from neighbourhood outlets keeping in view the travel advisories," MOSPI said in its statement.
The National Statistical Office collected price data from 1,030 urban markets and 998 villages, for commodities that were available and transacted during the month of June as Centre began lifting lockdown restrictions in phases. "The data collected, however, did not meet the adequacy criteria for generating robust estimates of CPIs at the state-level," MOSPI said.
The RBI focuses on retail inflation data while finalising its key policy rates. The central bank prescribes retail inflation in the range of 4 per cent with a margin of 2 per cent.
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