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Every Friday, Plain Facts publishes a compilation of data-based insights, complete with easy-to-read charts, to help you delve deeper into the stories reported by Mint in the week gone by. India’s retail inflation surged to its highest level since April. The festival season-led demand seems to have revived automobile sales, which registered an impressive growth in the Navratri period.

Inflation Woes

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Retail inflation accelerated to 7.41% in September from 7% in August, according to data released this week by the National Statistical Office. This is the highest inflation rate reported since April when the consumer price index-based inflation had touched a nearly eight-year high of 7.79%. Food price inflation led the surge from 7.62% in August to 8.6% in September. The recent spike in inflation may compel the Reserve Bank of India to hike benchmark rates in December.

Festive Fervour

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Automobile sales registered a 57% growth during the Navratri festival compared with the previous year, data released by the Federation of Automobile Dealers’ Association showed. The growth was 16% compared with the pre-covid Navratri festival in 2019, indicating that the industry has emerged from the long shadow of covid. Compared with pre-pandemic levels, tractor sales growth was the best (90%), followed by passenger vehicles (58%), and commercial vehicles (37%).

Growth Pangs

6.8%: That's the revised growth forecast for India for 2022-23, made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This marks a downgrade from the previous forecast of 7.4%, which the IMF attributed to weaker-than-expected output

in Q1FY23 and subdued external demand. The Ukraine war, a tightening monetary policy, high inflation, and the lingering effect of the pandemic are also likely to tone down economic growth.

Tech Results

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Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, HCL Technologies and Wipro reported their September quarter earnings this week. TCS, Infosys and HCL reported a rise of 8.3%, 11% and 7.1% in their consolidated net profit, respectively, while Wipro’s dropped by 9%. Infosys also announced a buyback of fully paid-up equity worth 9,300 crore from equity shareholders other than promoters. Wipro attributed its profit plunge to inflationary pressures and energy crisis, among others.

Speed Test

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As 5G gets rolled out in India, US mobile network testing firm Ookla said trial download speeds in the country are as fast as 800 Mbps. Download speeds hit 500 Mbps on 5G test networks in the country before the commercial launch by Reliance Jio and Bharti Airtel earlier this month. Ookla said Jio downloads were faster than Airtel with a median speed close to 600 Mbps in Delhi, while Bharti Airtel’s network posted its best median speed of about 516 Mbps in Varanasi.

Fundraising Spree

$10 billion: That's the potential fundraise that Gautam Adani and his family are discussing with global investors such as Temasek and other wealth and private equity funds, Mint reported this week. The funds will be ploughed into the group’s expansion plan in clean energy, ports, and fastmoving consumer goods businesses. Adani recently said that his firms intend to invest more than $100 billion of capital in the next decade, with 70% of it in clean energy.

Upbeat Mood

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Net inflows into equity mutual funds jumped to nearly 14,100 crore in September from 6,120 crore in August, according to data released by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi). The growth has been led by small investors, who continue to see systematic investment plans as an instrument for wealth creation

and accumulation over a long term despite economic uncertainties. The Amfi data also showed that the number of mutual fund folios reached 138.1 million.

Chart Of The Week: Mobility Up

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India celebrates its first festival season since 2020 without a high perceptible risk of outbreak of covid-19. Mobility this October is now the highest ever since the pandemic began. While the last two festival seasons had both seen a spike

in mobility, they had been met with several localized spikes in infections, too.

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