Rising prices restrain consumer mood in festive season

Millions of Indian households are facing strains on their budgets ahead of Deepavali, which marks the country’s busiest shopping season for consumer goods

For Delhi resident Suman Milind, rising prices are casting a long shadow over the upcoming Deepavali festival.

The 33-year-old homemaker is tightening her purse strings, thanks to soaring costs of fuel, transport and many manufactured items, coupled with stagnant incomes due to the pandemic.

“Earlier we used to get four or five boxes of dry fruits during festivals, but now we hardly get one or two because of the high prices,” said Ms. Milind.

Millions of Indian households are facing similar strains on their budgets ahead of Deepavali, which this year falls in early November and marks the country’s busiest shopping season for consumer goods.

Many are foregoing big-ticket purchases such as television sets and jewellery, according to half-a-dozen people Reuters spoke to and a consumer survey by Mumbai-based consultancy Axis My India, threatening to slow an economy recovering from the worst of COVID-19.

Pump prices of petrol and diesel are up nearly 35% from a year ago and cooking gas by more than 50%, severely hitting more than three-quarters of households, economists said.

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