New Delhi: Expensive food, fuel and clothing pushed up the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by 1.47 per cent in July on a month-on-month basis, but experts said too much should not be read into the numbers, as the data on retail prices is yet to stabilise.
    
The CPI based on retail prices, stood at 110.4 points in July, compared to 108.8 points in June, as per data released by the government on Thursday.
   
At the all-India level, the CPI for 'food, beverages and tobacco' went up by 1.57 per cent to 110.3 points in July from 108.6 points in the previous month.
    
The main increase was in the price of vegetables, whose index rose by 8.62 per cent month-on-month to 108.4 points, while the indices for protein-based products, pan and tobacco and prepared meals also went up by over 1 per cent.
    
However, fruit prices fell by 0.62 per cent in the index during the month under review to 128.1 points.
    
The 'fuel and light' segment was up by 3.86 per cent in the index, at 115.6 points in July, as against 111.3 points in June.
    
The government had hiked prices of diesel, cooking gas and kerosene in late May and the price rise seems to have spilled over into the latest Consumer Price Index for July.
    
In July, the CPI for 'clothing, bedding and footwear' stood at 116.4 points on an all-India basis, as against 115.1 in June, an increase of 1.13 per cent.
    
The index for 'Housing' was up 0.66 per cent month-on- month at 106.9 points in July, up from 106.2 points in June.
    
The CPI for miscellaneous items was pegged at 109 points on a countrywide basis in July, up 0.83 per cent from 108.1 points in the previous month.
    
Experts, however, said that the index cannot be used yet as a measure of retail inflation.
    
"The index has to stabilise. The market does not treat it as retail inflation yet," Standard Chartered India Head of Research Samiran Chakraborty said.
    
The combined general index for rural and urban consumers stood at 111.6 and 108.9 points, respectively, in July.
   
In June, it was 109.9 for rural consumers and 107.3 points for urban consumers.
    
"From the inflation perspective, the CPI is always a better indicator than the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and most of the countries follow it. However, in India at the moment, it is difficult to say what the numbers are denoting," Deloitte Haskins & Sells director Anis Chakravarty said.

Chakravarty added that the differences between the numbers are too statistically insignificant to make any impact.
   
The new nationwide CPI launched earlier this year was introduced to reflect the actual movement of prices at the micro-level and help policymakers like the RBI in better framing of decisions.
    
With the passage of time, the new index is expected to supersede the WPI as the benchmark to measure inflation.
    
Inflation, as measured by the WPI, stood at 9.22 per cent in July.
    
At the time of unveiling the new CPI earlier this year, the government had said it would continue the practice of giving the figures in the present form without quoting the inflation rate for one year.
    
The government will wait "till the series gets stabilised" and adequate and timely receipt of price data is achieved before it begins to release retail inflation figures based on the index from January, 2012.

(Agencies)