J&K’s retail inflation rises to 4.3% in January

Srinagar, Feb 14: The union territory of Jammu and Kashmir registered an inflation rate of 4.33 percent in January, lower than the national inflation rate.

According to data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based inflation rate for January 2024 stood at 5.10 percent at the all-India level. In contrast, Jammu and Kashmir saw retail inflation at 4.33 percent for the same month.

This indicates that price rise pressures have been relatively subdued in J&K compared to the rest of India.

Experts attribute the lower inflation rate in Jammu and Kashmir to factors such as good snowfall levels boosting agricultural output and government measures keeping prices of essential commodities in check.

The inflation rate in urban areas of Jammu and Kashmir in January stood at 3.26 percent, while rural areas saw higher inflation at 5.34 percent.

Notably, the inflation rate has been rising over the past few months in the region. In December 2023, the inflation rate in J&K was recorded at 4.15 percent. Before that, it was 3.8 percent in November.

India’s retail inflation eased to 5.1 percent in January this year, marking a decline from 5.69 percent in December 2023, as per official data released on Monday. This development offers some relief to household budgets amid ongoing economic concerns.

The decline in retail inflation was notably influenced by a decrease in food inflation, which constitutes nearly half of the overall consumer price index (CPI). Food inflation dropped to 8.3 percent in January from 9.05 percent in December. However, despite this overall reduction, prices of certain essential items such as vegetables, pulses, and spices witnessed a double-digit increase during the month. Yet, a silver lining emerged as cooking oil prices continued to decrease.

Vegetable prices surged by 27.03 percent in January, albeit lower than the 31.34 percent spike recorded in December. Conversely, the cost of pulses rose by 19.54 percent, while spices became dearer by 16.36 percent. Cereal prices also saw a rise, increasing by 7.83 percent in January compared to 9.53 percent in December.

Despite this moderation, consumer price inflation remains above the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) 4 percent midpoint target within its 2-6 percent range. Consequently, the RBI has refrained from implementing interest rate cuts to stimulate economic growth, prioritising inflation control to maintain stability. The central bank has maintained the repo rate at 6.5 percent for six consecutive bi-monthly monetary policy reviews, reflecting its cautious approach to monetary policy amid prevailing economic conditions.

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