India’s annual wholesale price-based inflation (WPI) eased to 8.39% in October from 10.70% in September, data released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry showed.

The wholesale inflation has dropped below the double-digit mark for the first time since March 2021 when it was at 7.89%. The wholesale price index (WPI) figure came above the double-digit mark for 18 consecutive months from April 2021 to September 2022.

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The WPI for August was revised to 12.48% from 12.41%, according to official data. The WPI in October 2021 was 13.83%.

“Decline in the rate of inflation in October 2022 is primarily contributed by fall in the price of mineral oils, basic metals, fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment; textiles; other non-metallic mineral products; minerals, etc.,” the ministry said in its release.

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The food items segment eased to 8.33% in October against 11.03% in the previous month. Inflation in vegetables was at 17.61% during the reported month, against 39.66% in September. In the Fuel and Power segment, inflation was 23.17%, while in manufactured goods it was 4.42% during October.

Overall, the all-commodity index of the WPI rose by 0.3% on a monthly basis in October after witnessing sequential falls in July, August, and September.

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At 5.30 pm, the government will release the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data for October. While the RBI has already failed to meet its inflation mandate, with the average CPI staying above the tolerance limit of 2-6% for three consecutive quarters.

A decline in headline retail inflation following a sharp fall in wholesale inflation will be positive news for policymakers. However, the data is unlikely to make RBI shift significantly from the track it has charted to curb inflation, with economists expecting another sharp hike in December.

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The RBI considers retail inflation when formulating monetary policy. The central bank has hiked the repo rate by 190 points since May 2022 to 5.9%. The next monetary policy meeting is scheduled from December 5-7.