ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

InflationSubscribe to Inflation

Inflation Convergence and Anchoring of Expectations in India

Careful research on the inflation targeting regime’s impact on anchoring inflation expectations, as well as an empirical examination of convergence, is used to assess the direction of convergence between core and headline inflation, as well as the efficacy of the expectation channel compared to the aggregate demand channel of monetary transmission. There is evidence of more anchoring, with the Reserve Bank of India communications as well as headline inflation affecting short-run inflation expectations and core inflation dominating in the long run.

In Search of Optimal Inflation

The impact of inflation on dispersion of relative prices is examined in a cointegration framework using a data set of all seven components of the consumer price index from India. The empirical evidence indicates that the dispersion of relative price increases with an increase in deviation of inflation from a certain threshold rate in either direction but not with inflation per se, as is traditionally believed. The crucial inference that emerges from the empirical findings is the presence of a threshold inflation rate corresponding to which the dispersion of relative prices is minimised, and this threshold turns out to be 5%.

Minimum Support Price and Inflation in India

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India revised the policy rates upward consecutively for the second time in 2018. While revising the repo rates to 6.5%, the MPC placed the onus on the recently announced minimum support price for agricultural commodities, alleging that it might fi rm up rural demand and drive up the price level in the economy. But is this threat of price spiral due to MSP hike a reality?

Issues in Measurement of Inflation Targeting

The current practice of measuring the inflation rate from fixed base weight index is outdated and likely to overstate inflation substantially compared to the chain weighted index used in developed countries. Similarly, the treatment of house rent allowance revisions to estimate the housing Consumer Price Index also significantly overstates the headline inflation. Economy-wide inflationary expectations also need proper measurement. Inflation-targeting framework without proper measurement of inflation rate can involve very high real costs and make the policy counterproductive.

How Did Central Bank Independence Become the Norm?

Priests of Prosperity: How Central Bankers Transformed the Postcommunist World by Juliet Johnson, New Delhi: Speaking Tiger, 2016; pp xv+292, ₹995.

Vulnerability of Emerging Market Economies to Exogenous Shocks

The transmission of global demand, oil supply and monetary policy shocks on the Indian economy are empirically examined using a parsimonious structural vector autoregression model for the period 1996 to 2016. Global demand shocks exert the most dominant effect causing fluctuations in various macroeconomic variables, whereas global monetary policy spillovers play an important role in affecting domestic short-term interest rates and financial asset prices. Global oil supply shocks, given its relative weightage as an intermediate input, have a greater impact on wholesale price index inflation than on consumer price index inflation. Given the rising trade and financial integration of the Indian economy, a quantitative impact analysis of these global shocks assumes importance for macroeconomic and monetary policy frameworks.

Theoretical Analysis of ‘Demonetisation’

With the aid of simple theoretical tools used in classroom lectures, the implications of the recent “demonetisation” exercise in India are analysed. It lends support to conclusions reached by other authors on the impact of demonetisation with the aid of available data. Following Robert Lucas’s Nobel lecture, the merits of economic policies that assume the form of random shocks to an economic system are questioned.

Oil Price, Exchange Rate and the Indian Macroeconomy

General discussions on the Indian macroeconomy have centred on two things in the recent past: the impact of depreciation of rupee and the effects of falling world oil prices. Using the structural vector autoregressive approach, the dynamic relationship between movements in oil prices and exchange rates with macroeconomic variables like price, output, interest rate and money are investigated. Additionally, a comparative analysis is conducted to show how each of these structural shocks has historically affected price, output and exchange rate. The results show strong link among these variables. Three results have important policy implications: (i) the world price of oil has a great potential to affect India's output, (ii) targeting depreciation of rupee to expand output may not be an effective policy tool for the RBI, and (iii) variation in rupee's value can have medium- to long-term impact on world price of oil.

India's 'Poverty of Numbers'

The number of "poor" derived by applying price adjustment to an old consumption basket, which is largely what official poverty measures have done, are very different from estimates based on actual consumption baskets that have changed over time. For instance, the share of cereals in household expenditure halved between 1993-94 and 2011-12 in rural areas. In the light of this, we ask if all expenditure would be on food, what percentage of the population would be unable to meet the prescribed calorie requirement? Adding a "minimum" level of expenditure on clothing-bedding-footwear, fuel and light, and conveyance to the "derived" sum of food expenditure provides a second counterfactual. Similarly, the cumulative addition of expenditure on other consumer goods and services provides further counterfactual scenarios.

Not in People's Interest

The politics and economics of interest rate formation in this country must be studied carefully. Lowering the interest rate raises stock prices in an environment where they themselves cannot move up thanks to the fundamentals of the economy that are not conducive.

Indexation Policy of the 7th Central Pay Commission Report

There is a need to revise the manner in which the pay commissions have indexed inflation and the concomitant pay rise. This critique looks at the weaknesses of the existing methodology and proposes some revisions to make it more representative and robust.

Inflation with Disinflation?

Price inflation in India as measured by the Wholesale Price Index and the Consumer Price Index has shown diverging trends. While WPI indicates a disinfl ationary situation for 16 months, CPI indicates inflation. Explaining the construction of the two indices, the trends of subgroups of both indices are presented. It is found that the different sample sizes and weightages of commodity groups of both indices and price interventions in the market explains, at least in part, this odd situation of infl ation along with disinfl ation.


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