Retail inflation fell to 30-month low of 7.31 per cent in June, mainly on account of lower prices of food items, including vegetables, cereals and meat.
The retail inflation, measured on consumer price index (CPI), was 8.28 per cent in May. Its lowest was 7.65 per cent in January, 2012, the month the government started releasing the data in percentage terms.
As per the data released by the government Monday, food inflation fell to 7.97 per cent in June against 9.56 per cent in May.
During the month under review, the rate of prise rise in vegetable was 8.73 per cent against 15.27 per cent in May.
Cereals and its products were cheaper, with inflation of 7.6 per cent as against 8.81 per cent a month ago.
The rate of price rise for egg, fish and meat was 8.27 per cent in June, lower than 10.11 per cent in May.
Inflation in milk and milk products was 11.06 per cent in June, slightly lower than 11.28 per cent in the preceding month, showed the data.
Among others, food and beverages inflation stood at 7.9 per cent in June vis-a-vis 9.4 per cent in May.
The rate of price rise in fuel and light was 4.58 per cent during the month as against 5.07 per cent rise in May.
Fruit inflation came down to 20.64 per cent compared to 23.17 per cent a month earlier.
For oil and fats, it was 0.35 per cent in June compared to 0.91 per cent rise in the previous month.
According to the data, the corresponding provisional inflation rates for rural and urban areas for June are 7.72 per cent and 6.82 per cent compared to 8.86 per cent and 7.55 per cent in May, respectively.
Wholesale price rise dips too
After rising to a five-month high in May, inflation in India dipped to 5.43 per cent in June mainly on account of decline in prices of food items and vegetables with the exception of potato and onion.
It was at 5.16 per cent a year ago in June 2013.
As per the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation, prices of vegetables as a category declined by 5.89 per cent during the month, while that of potato and onion soared by 42.51 per cent and 10.70 per cent respectively in the wholesale market.
Inflation had soared to a five-month high of 6.01 per cent in May 2014.
Among other important items, prices of sugar and edible oils fell by 2.09 per cent and 0.75 per cent respectively during June.
The food items that became expensive during the month include fruits (up 21.40 per cent), followed by milk (10.82 per cent), egg, meat and fish (10.27 per cent) and rice (10.24 per cent).
The inflation of food items as a category, however, continued to remain high at 8.14 per cent during the month and will continue to be a cause of concern for the Indian government which is gearing up to meet the impact of poor monsoon on the price situation.
The government has been taking steps to control prices of staple kitchen items like onions and potatoes.
Last month, the Centre imposed minimum export price (MEP) on onions (USD 300 a tonne) and potatoes (USD 450 a tonne) and raised it further in the case of bulb to USD 500 a tonne this month to improve domestic supplies.
At the same time, the stock holding limit was imposed on these food items even as the government decided to release 5 million tonnes of rice in the open market to prevent price rise due to poor monsoon.
The government expects food prices to ease following these measures.
During the month, prices of cereals declined steeply to 5.33 per cent while that of pulses got expensive at 1.78 per cent year-on-year, according to a release.
In the non-food articles category, the rate of price rise during the month was slower at 3.49 per cent.
Among others, prices of fuel and power accelerated at a slower pace of 9.04 per cent, while that of beverages, tobacco & tobacco products rose to 8.64 per cent.
Following the presentation of Budget 2014-15 by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week, prices of beverages and tobacco products have become costlier due to levy of higher duty, which is likely to push up inflation in these items going forward, experts feel.
Among other items in the manufactured category, cotton textiles price rose to 8.31 per cent, though prices of man-made textiles accelerated at a slower pace of 5.54 per cent.
The rate of price rise of cement and lime stood at -4.45 per cent and for basic metals alloys and metal product at 2.83 per cent.
The WPI inflation for April was, however, revised upwards at 5.55 per cent from 5.20 per cent.