TOPIC – Pain from pricesThe latest inflation data, both retail and wholesale, point to accelerating price gains that could potentially undermine the fragile economic recovery by pushing up costs and depleting consumers’ purchasing power. November’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows year on year Inflation at the retail level quickened to a three-month high of 4.91%, from 4.48% in October. Even on a sequential basis, last month’s CPI reveals prices are estimated to have risen 0.73% from October with as many as 10 of the 12 constituents of the food and beverages category witnessing month on month inflation. Food was in fact a major driver of the quickening in price gains on an annual basis. Vegetable prices surged from October, logging 7.4% month on month inflation. Also, the Union government’s belated and marginal reduction in excise duty on petrol and diesel, which was followed by cuts in local value added taxes by many States, barely slowed the pace of inflation in the transport and communication category: the rate eased 88 basis points from 10.90% in October, to 10.02% in November. Clothing and footwear, housing, health, education and recreation were among the other key product and service categories that contributed to the sequential trend in price gains underlining the fact that inflation excluding food and fuel, otherwise known as core inflation, remains disconcertingly sticky and elevated at around 6%. Nor does the data on wholesale prices provide any reason for cheer, with provisional inflation based on the wholesale price index racing to a record 14.2% in November, from October’s 12.5%. The fuel and power sub index surged 39.8% year on year, and all three major groups comprising the WPI posted sequential accelerations as well. Persistently high and climbing wholesale prices of basic metals, chemicals and chemical products, and textiles among manufactured products have the potential to feed through down the line to retail prices and add to inflationary pressure for consumers. While manufacturers in some sectors may opt to absorb rising input costs, at least in the short term till demand gets more entrenched, the signs including from automobile makers are far from reassuring. The tariff increases announced by telecom service providers last month are also expected to feed through into retail inflation in December and international semiconductor shortages and logistics bottlenecks are roiling the outlook for prices of electronics and other products reliant on global supply chains. With the rupee continuing to weaken against the U.S. dollar, policymakers also face the challenge of contending with imported inflation including the landed cost of crude oil shipments. The onus is clearly on the Centre to deepen the fuel tax cuts and address other supply-side issues to prevent inflation from hurting the recovery.

The Hindu Editorial Words with meanings, synonyms, and antonyms


Fragile (adjective) – Easily broken or damaged

Synonyms – Brittle, splintery, crumbly, friable, shatter

Antonyms – Hefty, rugged, sturdy, staunch


Depleting (adjective) – Completely consumed or used up

Synonyms – Destitute, kaput, dissipated, sapped, squandered

Antonyms – Augmented, enlarged, energized, strapping, beefy


Barely (adverb) – By a small margin

Synonyms – Scantly, imperceptibly, abundantly, passably, meagerly

Antonyms – Enormously, bountifully, utterly, capaciously, vastly


Disconcertingly (verb) – To throw into a state of self-conscious distress

Synonyms – Abashing, fazing, flustering, mortifying, perturbing

Antonyms – Buoying, consoling, emboldening, relieving, soothing


Persistently (adverb) – Diligently, with a lot of effort

Synonyms – Assiduously, untiringly, doggedly, strenuously, busily

Antonyms –Erratically, mercurially, illogically, capriciously, variably


Entrenched (adjective) – Firmly established and difficult or unlikely to change

Synonyms – Embedded, indelible, inveterate, immutable, instilled

Antonyms – Ambivalent, dithering, irresolute, superficial, hesitant


Roiling (verb) – To be triggering a passionate feeling or reaction

Synonyms –Inciting, fomenting, riling, priming, enthusing

Antonyms –Sedating, quelling, stifling, steadying, lulling


Contending (verb) – To assert something as a position in an argument

Synonyms –Averring, professing, dictating, asseverating, adducing

Antonyms –Rebutting, negating, confuting, debunking, exploding


Onus (noun) – Something that is one’s duty or responsibility

Synonyms –Devoir, chore, compulsion, prerogative, committal

Antonyms –Dereliction, sloppiness, desertion, forsaking, remissness