New Delhi– India’s annual retail inflation eased last month to 4.31 per cent from 5.05 per cent in August and 4.41 per cent reported during the corresponding period of last year, official data showed on Thursday.

According to CPI (Consumer Price Index) data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the fall in retail inflation was due to a rather sharp drop in the annual food inflation — from 5.91 per cent in August to 3.88 per cent in September.

The CPI data revealed that the annual retail inflation for rural India was 4.96 per cent, while that for the urban centres was 3.64 per cent.

The annual food inflation was 4.43 per cent in rural areas and 2.88 per cent in the urban conclaves.

The official data further showed that prices of vegetable plunged by (-)7.21 per cent on a year-on-year (YoY) basis, whereas cost of pulses was up by 14.33 per cent.

The prices of milk and milk-based products’ surged by 4.27 per cent. Other protein-based food items such as meat and fish became dearer by 5.83 per cent.

Besides, eggs became expensive by 9.94 per cent, and the cost of spices rose by 8.10 per cent.

Edible oils and fats prices increased by 4.65 per cent, while those for sugar and confectionery edged up by 25.77 per cent on a YoY basis.

Among the states, the retail inflation was lowest in Assam, at 2.31 per cent, followed by Bihar at 2.52 per cent, and Madhya Pradesh at 3.21 per cent.

On the flip side, it was as high as 5.63 per cent in Rajasthan, 5.56 per cent in Andhra Pradesh and 5.52 per cent in Odisha.

This is the second month when the annual retail inflation has come below the upper tolerance level of six per cent, even though it is still above the base rate of four per cent.

The government target is four per cent plus-or-minus two percentage points for the next five years.