Highlights from the RBI's March 2023 bulletin

RBI released the March 2023 issue of its monthly bulletin and here are some of the key highlights from the article “State of the Economy”:


Even as global growth is set to slow down or even enter a recession in 2023 as global financial markets wager, India has emerged from the pandemic years stronger than initially thought, with a steady gathering of momentum since the second quarter of the current financial year. On the supply side, agriculture is into a seasonal uptick, industry is emerging out of contraction and services have maintained momentum. Consumer price inflation remains high and core inflation continues to defy the distinct softening of input costs.

Key highlights

  • According to a report of the International Energy Agency released in March 2023, the world emitted more carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) in 2022 – 36.8 gigatons – than in any other year since records began in 1900.

  • In this context, the historic High Seas Treaty reached in early March assumes significance. The High seas cover nearly two-thirds of the global ocean – almost half of the Earth’s entire surface. The ocean as a whole takes up 90% of the excess heat and around 25% of the CO 2 generated by humanity’s burning of fossil fuels. The Treaty aims to place 30% of the high seas into protected areas by 2030, limiting fishing, deep sea mining and the routing of shipping lanes. By safeguarding and recuperating marine life and the sea beds, the Treaty will contribute in its own way to climate action.

  • There has been a shift in the drivers of global growth in 2022. EMEs, led by India and China, are projected to account for about 80% of global growth in 2023, with India contributing nearly 17%

Global Commodity and Food Prices

  • Global commodity prices traded with a softening bias in February and early March as expectations
    of prolonged tightening of monetary policy in Advanced Economies dampened the demand outlook.

Domestic Developments

Easing supply chain pressures

  • The Indian economy is exhibiting resilience in an international environment shrouded with uncertainty. Growth impulses are getting further strengthened by easing of supply chain pressures and a rebound in services activity. Our index of supply chain pressure for India (ISPI) remained below its historical average, indicating sustained easing of pressures

Annual Inflation across sub-groups

  • Food inflation (y-o-y) was marginally higher at 6.3 per cent in February over 6.2 per cent a month ago. Within the food group, prices rose by 16.7 per cent (the highest since June 2013) in cereals. Milk, fruits, sugar, non-alcoholic beverages and prepared meals were the other major sub-groups that recorded higher inflation.

  • On the other hand, annual rate of price increases softened in respect of eggs (which recorded a negative momentum of 5.7 per cent), meat and fish, pulses and spices categories. Negative momentum drove prices of edible oils into deflation (Chart 36). The vegetables sub-group registered a marginally lower deflation in February.

Digital transactions through major payment modes maintained growth (y-o-y) in February 2023

Relative contribution to Export growth

  • Non-oil exports, which account for 80 per cent of total exports, contracted by 4.3 per cent y-o-y in February 2023, weighed down by engineering goods, cotton yarn and fabrics, and chemicals

Trend in EVs

  • The share of EV sales in total vehicle retail sales rapidly increased to 6.0 per cent in February 2023 from 1.2 per cent in February 2021, with the sold units crossing the one million mark in Apr-Feb 2022-23. EV penetration (i.e., EV retail sales as a percentage of total vehicle retail sales) is the highest for the three wheeler segment, followed by two wheelers. The Union Budget 2023-24 has increased the outlay under the FAME scheme (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles scheme) by 78 per cent to 5,172 crores.

Essential commodity prices

  • High frequency food price data for March so far (March 1-14) point to decline in prices of cereals(mainly wheat and atta), cereals and key vegetables. Barring masur (red lentils), pulses registered an uptick in prices.

Does anyone know where they take the price samples for atta, vegetables, and pulses?

from the nearest Kirana store to the RBI headquarters?

In a country where each state price items differently and with retailers (online and offline) charging variable prices for the same item, how do you conclude what is the correct price for a survey report?

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