In September, food inflation increased significantly to 8.6%

Retail food inflation increased significantly in September from 7.6% to 8.6%, primarily due to increases in the cost of vegetables and cereals. As a result, overall inflation as measured by the consumer price index increased to 7.4% on an annual basis in September from 7% in August. Due to a surge in the price of cereals and several of the most important vegetables and fruits, inflation in the category “food and beverages” increased to 8.4% in September from the 7.5% reported in August.

Onion price inflation was down 15.5% year over year in September 2022, whereas potato and tomato price inflation increased by 42.9% and 53.5%, respectively. The bountiful output of 31.12 mt in the 2021–22 crop year, compared to 26.64 million tonnes in the 2020–21 crop year, was the cause of the negative onion inflation last month. Compared to 3.5% for pulses and (-) 1.7% for eggs, cereal inflation in September increased to 11.5% from 9.57% in August.

In September 2022, wheat prices increased by 17.4%. According to the agriculture ministry, heat waves during the crop’s flowering stage in March caused the yield of wheat for the 2021–22 crop year (July–June) to decrease by almost 3% on a yearly basis to 106.8 mt. India stopped wheat exports in May 2022 to protect domestic supply. In September 2022, the price of rice climbed by 9.2% as well, following a 6.9% price increase in August.

According to the first advance estimate of foodgrain output recently provided by the agriculture ministry, India’s rice production in the current Kharif season for the 2022–23 crop year (July–June) is predicted to decrease by about 6% to 104.99 mt compared to 111.76 mt in 2021–22. Due to inadequate rainfall in important growing states including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, and Jharkhand, less paddy was sown. Inflation last month for lemons and bananas was 25.5% and 16.4%, respectively.

In September 2022, the price of chicken increased moderately by 0.1%, while the total food inflation rate for the meat and fish category was 2.5%. While chana prices decreased by 1.7%, the pulses category experienced a moderate 3% inflation rate in September 2022. Inflation in milk reached 7.1% in August. Due to a decrease in the price of edible oil, inflation in the edible oil and fat category was 0.3% in September 2022.

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