* April CPI inflation seen at 3.49 pct vs 3.81 pct in March
* March industrial output seen at 1.3 pct y/y
* Inflation, output data due around 1200 GMT Friday, May 12
By Manoj Kumar
NEW DELHI, May 12 India's consumer inflation is
expected to have eased to a three-month low in April, helped by
smaller rises in food prices, but with a summer rebound in
prospect the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to keep
interest rates on hold.
The RBI's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), which has a
mid-term inflation target of 4 percent, maintained its hawkish
stance on inflation, with most members expressing concern over
upside risks to core inflation.
Consumer prices, the RBI's main policy target, likely rose
3.49 percent in April, according to a Reuters poll of
economists, compared with an increase of 3.81 percent in
Data on the consumer price index, wholesale
price index and industrial output will be
released around 1200 GMT Friday.
Economists expect the central bank to keep its policy rate
unchanged this year.
"RBI is not likely to cut interest rates at least for six
months as inflationary pressures are building up," said N.R.
Bhanumurthy, an economist at the National Institute of Public
Finance and Policy, a Delhi-based think tank.
Economists predict 1.5 percent annual growth in industrial
output in March, bouncing from February's 1.2 percent
Wholesale price inflation is expected to have
slowed last month to 4.79 percent from 5.70 percent in March,
according to the poll.
In Asia, China's annual consumer inflation edged up to 1.2
percent in April from March's 0.9 percent, while quickening in
Indonesia to a 13-month high of 4.17 percent.
CHANGE IN BASE YEAR
On Friday, India will release a new series of industrial
output and wholesale inflation data, revising the base year to
2011/12 from 2004/05.
India changed the base year for the country's gross domestic
product (GDP) and Consumer Price Index based
inflation data about two years ago while continuing with the old
base year for other macro indicators.
The delay in revising the base year has often confused the
markets and policy makers who have struggled to analyse the
discrepancies between the volume growth record by the IIP and
value-added numbers reflected in GDP.
The base year reset is expected to bring in more accuracy in
measuring the level of economic activity as well the national
income, said Bhanumurthy.
The new IIP series will cover a new basket of commodities
and assign new weights to them, removing obsolete items like
typewriters and floppy disks, said G.C. Manna, former head of
the Central Statistics Organisation.
Ideally, they should move in the same range, as value
addition at constant prices could address the price factors and
broadly reflect physical growth.
But the IIP series for first 11-months of 2016/17 showed a
major divergence, with a contraction of 0.3 percent in
manufacturing output compared with 7.7 percent growth noted in
the gross value added data of GDP for the whole year.
(Editing by Douglas Busvine & Shri Navaratnam)