Financial and Monetary Systems

India's retail prices slow, and other economics stories to read this week

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A salesman stands inside a retail store with a sign advertising a sale in New Delhi, India.

Retail inflation has slowed in India. Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

Joe Myers
Writer, Forum Agenda
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  • This weekly round-up brings you the latest stories from the world of economics and finance.
  • Top economy stories: India retail inflation slows; Japan and UK enter recession; Consumer prices rise more than expected in US.

1. India retail inflation slows

India's annual retail inflation dipped to 5.10% in January, down from 5.69% in December, new government data revealed, as food prices rose at a slower pace.

While inflation remains above the central bank's 4.0% target, the Reserve Bank of India held interest rates steady last week, leading experts to suggest no future cuts are expected in the short term.

Despite the slight cooling – food inflation rose 8.30% last month compared with 9.53% in December –- the central bank is likely "to remain cautious in the near term", Upasna Bhardwaj, Chief Economist at Mumbai-based Kotak Mahindra Bank, told Reuters.

India's retail inflation eases in January.
Slowing retail inflation in India. Image: Reuters

Wholesale prices also rose at a slower pace in January than in the previous month, with an easing of food prices and manufactured goods.

Industrial output rose quicker than expected in December, up 3.8% year-on-year.

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2. Japan's economy enters recession

The Japanese economy unexpectedly slipped into recession in the final quarter of 2023, after two consecutive quarters of shrinking gross domestic product. As a result, Germany has become the world's third-largest economy.

This raises questions about the Japen's next steps and when it might exit its prolonged period of ultra-loose monetary policy, Reuters reports.

There are warnings of a further contraction in the current quarter, with factors such as slow demand in China and sluggish domestic consumption all presenting headwinds to growth.

Economy minister, Yoshitaka Shindo, called for solid wage growth to boost consumption.

Japan's economy slips into recession
An unexpected slip into recession. Image: Reuters
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3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world

Australia's unemployment rate climbed to a two-year high in January.

Russia will hold interest rates at 16% following months of tightening. It comes as consumer price growth begins to show signs of easing.

The Dutch economy exited recession in the fourth quarter of last year, Bloomberg reports, as a result of increased consumer spending and exports.

US factory production fell unexpectedly in January, which was partly attributed to very cold weather conditions.

It comes as a higher-than-expected rise in US consumer prices in January meant the consumer price index increased 3.1% year-on-year. This is largely a result of the increasing costs of rental housing.

Monthly change in US Consumer Price Index
Prices rise 0.3% in January Image: Reuters

US Treasury yields reached a two-month high on the back of the news, as it caused doubt of any potential interest rate cuts.

In the UK, inflation held at 4%, despite forecasts of a rise. Consumer price inflation had hit a high of 11.1% in October 2022. However, the news comes as the UK economy enters a recession, following two quarters of GDP contraction. GDP fell 0.3% in the three months to December, having previously shrunk 0.1% from July to September.

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The global population is increasingly getting older and living longer - but what does that mean for the wider economy? Here are six principles to address the challenges of funding an ageing global population.

Related topics:
Financial and Monetary SystemsGeo-economicsEconomic Progress
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Contents
1. India retail inflation slows2. Japan's economy enters recession3. News in brief: Stories on the economy from around the world4. More on finance and the economy on Agenda

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