Cheaper food items, including fruit and vegetables, pulled down the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by 0.44 per cent month-on-month in December 2011.

The CPI, based on retail prices, stood at 113.9 points in December compared to 114.4 points in November, as per data released by the government on Wednesday.

“This broad based index reflects the changes in the prices of goods and services consumed by the rural and urban population ... The annual inflation rates would be available at the time of release of indices for January 2012,” Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics & Programme Implementation Srikant Jena said.

The indices for January are scheduled to be released on February 21.

According to the data, at the all-India level, the CPI for ‘food, beverages and tobacco’ declined by 1.31 per cent to 112.8 points in December from 114.3 points in the previous month.

The fall was mainly on account of cheaper vegetables which saw a dip of 15.01 per cent month-on-month to 98.5 points. The fruit index also fell by 3.78 per cent to 122.2 points.

Similarly, the index for condiments and spices went down by 0.64 per cent to 123.9 points.

Indices for cereals and pulses remained stable at 107.2 points and 102.5 points.

However, CPI for clothing, bedding and footwear stood higher at 122.2 points on an all-ndia basis, against 121.5 points in November.

In addition, prices in the ‘fuel and light’ segment rose by 0.33 per cent in December vis-a-vis the previous month, with the index inching up to 120 points from 119.6 points in November.

The index for ‘Housing’ was also up 1.17 per cent month-on-month at 112.2 points in December in comparison to 110.9 points in the previous month.

However, the data for housing was compiled only for urban areas. The government had earlier said that “house rent is negligible for the rural areas” and as such, only urban areas have been taken into account for the index on housing.

The price of miscellaneous items rose by 0.09 per cent in December vis-a-vis November, as per the CPI data, with the index for this segment rising to 112.8 points on a countrywide basis in the month under review from 112.7 points in the previous month.

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