The annualised inflation rate in India was 3.78% as of August 2015, as per the Indian Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. This represents a modest reduction from the previous annual figure of 9.6% for June 2011. Inflation rates in India are usually quoted as changes in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), for all commodities.
Many developing countries use changes in the consumer price index (CPI) as their central measure of inflation. India used WPI as the measure for inflation but new CPI (combined) is declared as the new standard for measuring inflation (April 2014) [] CPI numbers are typically measured monthly, and with a significant lag, making them unsuitable for policy use. India uses changes in the CPI to measure its rate of inflation.
Provisional annual inflation rate based on all India general CPI (Combined) for November 2013 on point to point basis (November 2013 over November 2012) is 11.24% as compared to 10.17% (final) for the previous month of October 2013. The corresponding provisional inflation rates for rural and urban areas for November 2013 are 11.74% and 10.53% respectively. Inflation rates (final) for rural and urban areas for October 2013 are 10.19% and 10.20%, respectively.
The WPI measures the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods. In India, this basket is composed of three groups: Primary Articles (20.1% of total weight), Fuel and Power (14.9%) and Manufactured Products (65%). Food Articles from the Primary Articles Group account for 14.3% of the total weight. The most important components of the Manufactured Products Group are Chemicals and Chemical products (12%); Basic Metals, Alloys and Metal Products (10.8%); Machinery and Machine Tools (8.9%); Textiles (7.3%) and Transport, Equipment and Parts (5.2%).
WPI numbers were typically measured weekly by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. This makes it more timely than the lagging and infrequent CPI statistic. However, since 2009 it has been measured monthly instead of weekly.
The challenges in developing economy are many, especially when in context of the monetary policy with the Central Bank, the inflation and price stabilityphenomenon. There has been a universal argument these days when monetary policy is determined to be a key element in depicting and controlling inflation. The Central Bank works on the objective to control and have a stable price for commodities. A good environment of price stability happens to create saving mobilisation and a sustained economic growth. The former Governor of RBI C. Rangarajan points out that there is a long-term trade-off between output and inflation. He adds on that short-term trade-off happens to only introduce uncertainty about the price level in future. There is an agreement that the central banks have aimed to introduce the target of price stability while an argument supports it for what that means in practice.
Optimal inflation rate
It arises as the basis theme in deciding an adequate monetary policy. There are two debatable proportions for an effective inflation, whether it should be in the range of 1–3 per cent as the inflation rate that persists in the industrialized economy or should it be in the range of 6–7 per cent. While deciding on the elaborate inflation rate certain problems occur regarding its measurement. The measurement bias has often calculated an inflation rate that is comparatively more than in nature. Secondly, there often arises a problem when the quality improvements in the product are in need to be captured out, hence it affects the price index. The consumer preference for a cheaper goods affects the consumption basket at costs, for the increased expenditure on the cheaper goods takes time for the increased weight and measuring inflation. The Boskin Commission has measured 1.1 per cent of the increased inflation in USA every annum. The commission points out for the developed countries comprehensive study on inflation to be fairly low.
Money supply and inflation
The Quantitative Easing by the central banks with the effect of an increased money supply in an economy often helps to increase or moderate inflationary targets. There is a puzzle formation between low-rate inflation and a high growth of money supply. When the current rate of inflation is low, a high worth of money supply warrants the tightening of liquidity and an increased interest rate for a moderate aggregate demand and the avoidance of any potential problems. Further, in case of a low output a tightened monetary policy would affect the production in a much more severe manner. The supply shocks have known to play a dominant role in the regard of monetary policy. The bumper harvest in 1998–99 with a buffer yield in wheat, sugarcane, and pulses had led to an early supply condition further driving their prices from what were they in the last year. The increased import competition since 1991 with the trade liberalisation in place have widely contributed to the reduced manufacturing competition with a cheaper agricultural raw materials and the fabric industry. These cost-saving-driven technologies have often helped to drive a low inflation rate. The normal growth cycles accompanied with the international price pressures has several times being characterized by domestic uncertainties.
Inflation in India generally occurs as a consequence of global traded commodities and the several efforts made by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to weaken rupee against the dollar. This was done after the Pokhran Blasts in 1998. This has been regarded as the root cause of inflation crisis rather than the domestic inflation. According to some experts the policy of RBI to absorb all dollars coming into the Indian economy contributes to the appreciation of the rupee. When the U.S. dollar has shrieked by a margin of 30%, the RBI had made a massive injection of dollar in the economy make it highly liquid and this further triggered off inflation in non-traded goods. The RBI picture clearly portrays for subsidising exports with a weak dollar-exchange rate. All these account for a dangerous inflationary policies being followed by the central bank of the country. Further, on account of cheap products being imported in the country which are made on a high technological and capital intensive techniques happen to either increase the price of domestic raw materials in the global market or they are forced to sell at a cheaper price, hence fetching heavy losses.
There are several factors which help to determine the inflationary impact in the country and further help in making a comparative analysis of the policies for the same.The major determinant of the inflation in regard to the employment generation and growth is depicted by the Phillips curve.
It basically occurs in a situation when the aggregate demand in the economy has exceeded the aggregate supply. It could further be described as a situation where too much money chases just few goods. A country has a capacity of producing just 5,500 units of a commodity but the actual demand in the country is 7,000 units. Hence, as a result of which due to scarcity in supply the prices of the commodity rises. This has generally been seen in India in context with the agrarian society where due to droughts and floods or inadequate methods for the storage of grains leads to lesser or deteriorated output hence increasing the prices for the commodities as the demand remains the same.
The supply side inflation is a key ingredient for the rising inflation in India. The agricultural scarcity or the damage in transit creates a scarcity causing high inflationary pressures. Similarly, the high cost of labor eventually increases the production cost and leads to a high price for the commodity. The energies issues regarding the cost of production often increases the value of the final output produced. These supply driven factors have basically have a fiscal tool for regulation and moderation. Further, the global level impacts of price rise often impacts inflation from the supply side of the economy.
Consensus on the prime reason for the sticky and stubbornly high Consumer Price Index, that is retail inflation of India, is due to supply side constraints; and still where interest rate remains the only tool with the Reserve Bank of India. Higher inflation rate also constraints India's manufacturing environment.
Developing economies like India have generally a lesser developed financial market which creates a weak bonding between the interest rates and the aggregate demand. This accounts for the real money gap that could be determined as the potential determinant for the price rise and inflation in India. There is a gap in India for both the output and the real money gap. The supply of money grows rapidly while the supply of goods takes due time which causes increased inflation. Similarly, hoarding has been a problem of major concern in India where onion prices have shot high. There are several other stances for the gold and silver commodities and their price hike.
The exchange rate determination is an important component for the inflationary pressures that arises in India. The liberal economic perspective in India affects the domestic markets. As the prices in United States rises it impacts India where the commodities are now imported at a higher price impacting the price rise. Hence, the nominal exchange rate and the import inflation are a measures that depict the competitiveness and challenges for the economy.
The inflation rate in India was recorded at 6.2% (WPI) in August 2013. Historically, from 1969 until 2013, the inflation rate in India averaged 7.7% reaching an all-time high of 34.7% in September 1974 and a record low of -11.3% in May 1976.
The inflation rate for Primary Articles is currently at 9.8% (as of 2012). This breaks down into a rate 7.3% for Food, 9.6% for Non-Food Agriculturals, and 26.6% for Mining Products. The inflation rate for Fuel and Power is at 14.0%. Finally, the inflation rate for Manufactured Articles is currently at 7.3%.
Given below is a comparison of average consumer price inflation, cost (for filing tax returns) inflation and gold inflation indices in India (collated from IMF, CBDT and multiple sources). Price index is useful in gauging income and profit of sellers, cost index is useful in gauging expenditure and loss of buyers while the gold index helps measure wealth. The gold index is in vogue for three centuries.
|Year||Price Index (IMF)||Cost Index (CBDT)||Gold Index|
After reading this tutorial, you should have some insight into inflation and its effects. For starters, you now know that inflation isn't intrinsically good or bad. Like so many things in life, the impact of inflation depends on your personal situation.
Some points to remember:
- Inflation is a sustained increase in the general level of prices for goods and services.
- When inflation goes up, there is a decline in the value, or purchasing power of money.
- Variations on inflation include disinflation, deflation, hyperinflation and stagflation.
- Theories as to the cause of inflation are up for debate. Some common theories include demand-pull inflation, cost-push inflation, and monetary inflation.
- When there is unanticipated inflation, creditors lose, people on a fixed-income lose, menu costs go up, uncertainty reduces spending and exporters aren't as competitive.
- Lack of inflation (or deflation) is not necessarily a good thing and can lead to destabilizing deflationary spirals.
- Inflation is measured with a price index.
- The two main groups of price indexes that measure inflation are the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Indexes. The GDP- and Price-deflator are also used.
- Interest rates are decided in the U.S. by the Federal Reserve. Inflation plays a large role in the Fed's decisions regarding interest rates since it uses inflation-targeting as a policy.
- In the long term, stocks and precious metals are good protection against inflation.
- Inflation is a serious problem for fixed income investors. It's important to understand the difference between nominal interest rates and real interest rates.
- Inflation-indexed securities offer protection against inflation but offer low returns.