Rents boost United States core CPI; retail sales rise solidly

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The retail inflation in the country has touched a new high of the last 17 months as Consumer Price Index (CPI) crossed the 5 per cent mark to settle at 5.21 per cent for the month of December 2017, which was 4.88 per cent a month ago.

The figures for rural and urban areas in December were 5.08% and 4.71%.

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Retail inflation in India rose to 5.21% in December 2017 compared to that in December 2016, data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation showed on Friday.

Low inflation has made the Federal Reserve cautious about raising interest rates too quickly. Including all items, the broader CPI showed a smaller gain in December in line with estimates, as energy prices declined, a Labor Department report showed Friday. The US central bank hiked borrowing costs three times in 2017. The Fed's preferred inflation measure, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index excluding food and energy, has undershot its target since May 2012.

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The food inflation rose to 4.85% yoy in December 2017 compared to 4.42% yoy in November 2017.

The inflation for clothing and footwear eased to 4.80%, while the CPI inflation of fuel and light also fell to 7.90% in December 2017. Shelter costs rose 0.4%, the most since August, including a 0.4 percent increase in rents and 0.3% in owners' equivalent rent, one of the categories created to track rental prices. He added that while the strong rise in core inflation is not a trend, it appears price pressures are heading in the right direction.

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The rise in the inflation will lead to a spike in bond yields. "However, the reversal of other transient factors such as the expected seasonal moderation in food prices may help to cool inflation", Aditi Nayar, Principal Economist at ICRA said.

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