India Is Paying a High Price for Its Love of Lentils: Chart

An assortment of grains and pulses including, Soya Beans, Chick Peas, Lentils and Kidney Beans, seen stacked on a shelf at a market in New Delhi.

An assortment of grains and pulses including, Soya Beans, Chick Peas, Lentils and Kidney Beans, seen stacked on a shelf at a market in New Delhi.

Photographer: Adam Ferguson/Bloomberg

Which commodity is pushing Indian inflation higher when almost everything else is helping cool it? Lentils.

Indians, who eat the protein-rich seeds at almost every meal, don’t produce enough to meet demand. Poor monsoon rains have made it worse, compelling Prime Minister Narendra Modi to step up imports. The 46 percent surge in pulses accounted for about a fifth of consumer-price inflation last month, according to BNP Paribas SA’s Richard Iley. Not to worry, he writes. If the previous three similar episodes of the past decade are to be trusted, the current bout of price madness should be over soon and open room for the central bank to cut rates again.

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