The dip in the thali costs was largely led by 21% and 38% year-on-year decline in the prices of potatoes and tomatoes during the month. The cost of a non-veg thali declined faster as the price of broiler (50% share in the thali cost) softened an estimated 5-7% year-on-year on a high base, according to the Roti Rice Rate – ratings agency Crisil’s indicator of food plate cost.
Latest data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed retail inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose an annual 5% in September, slower than the 6.8% in August and below the RBI’s upper tolerance band of 6%.The food price index slowed to 6.6% from nearly 10% in the previous month. Easing tomato prices and reduction in cooking gas cylinder prices have also helped in calming the price pressures.
The cost of fuel, which accounts for 14% and 8% of the total cost of a veg and non-veg thali respectively, declined 14% year-on-year as the price of a 14.2 kg cooking gas cylinder fell from Rs 1,053 to Rs 903.
Decline in thali prices was capped by a rise in onion prices in the second half of October to Rs 40 per kg on average from Rs 34 per kg in the first half, trading 25% higher year on-year in the second half, owing to a lower kharif output estimated in 2023.
The roti rice rate pointed out that thali prices are expected to inch up in November if higher prices of onion, which accounts for 10% of the total cost of a veg thali, persist. Onion prices have soared in the past few weeks, raising fresh worries about stubborn price pressures. The indicator also showed that the price of pulses, accounting for 9% share in the total cost of a veg thali, increased 19% year-on-year. This, too, kept the thali cost from falling further, the indicator showed.