USA consumer prices up tiny 0.1 percent in December

USA consumer prices up tiny 0.1 percent in December

The Reserve Bank of India held its policy rate steady at 6 per cent last month and said all possibilities were on the table, depending on how price pressures and growth panned out.

The Consumer Price Index inflation, which measures the change in retail prices, had increased to a 15-month high of 4.88% in November 2017. In the same period of 2016, the rate was 3.41 percent.

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But clothing prices fell for the fourth consecutive month, and airline fares fell 0.5% after a 2.4% drop in November.

Consumer food price inflation, a metric to gauge changes in monthly kitchen costs, continued to witness a jump, with prices of food rising 4.96 percent in December from 4.42 percent in November.

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However, economists believe the central bank may be forced to accelerate that pace if there are hints that inflation is beginning to rise more rapidly, given that unemployment continues to hover at 17-year lows. The Fed last year accelerated that pace, raising rates three times and signaling at its meeting last month that it expected to raise rates at the same clip this year. He said he expected the next rate hike to occur in March with a total of four hikes this year.

"The rise in housing inflation is likely to be persistent, while rising crude oil prices pose another risk". While cost of eggs surged 9.48%, prices of pulses declined by as much as 23.47%, and spices by 2.21%.

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India's retail inflation hit a fresh high, growing 5.2 percent in December, mainly due to hardening housing, fuel and food prices, while inching towards RBI's upper tolerance level of inflation at 6 percent. The figures for rural and urban areas in December were 5.08% and 4.71%.

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