Inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December was 9.87 percent down from 11.16 percent in the previous month.

Inflation in the food and beverages segment was 9.9 percent in January compared to 12.16 percent in the previous month, as per the official data released on Wednesday.

It is lowest rate of inflation since 7.65 percent in January 2012.

Vegetable prices on annual basis rose 21.91 percent in January, a slower pace than 38.76 percent recorded in the previous month, it said.

Fruit prices rose 15.6 percent as compared to 14.64 percent in December.

Pulses were dearer by 2.59 percent, cereals by 11.42 percent and milk products by 9.82 percent in January.

Protein-rich items such as eggs, meat and fish became dearer by 11.69 percent in January. The rate of inflation in this segment was slightly higher at 12.64 percent in December.

The retail inflation was in double digits in October and November.

The data showed that the provisional inflation for rural and urban areas for January was 9.43 percent and 8.09 percent respectively.

Data on inflation based on wholesale price index is scheduled for release on Friday.

The Reserve Bank factors both, retail and wholesale price based, inflation data in its monetary policy.

Recently, a RBI appointed committee has suggested the central bank should focus on CPI inflation and aim to bring it down to 8 percent by January next year, and to 6 percent by January 2016.

Shifting its stance of monetary policy towards targeting retail inflation, the RBI in its monetary policy said inflation is an "inequitable tax" and may exceed 8 percent by March end.

(Agencies)

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