With the consumer price index (CPI) inflation number for November coming in at 4.88%, the real return on fixed deposits has slipped into negative territory for the first time in 16 months, reports FE Bureau in Mumbai. At-0.5%, the return on a one-year retail term deposit with State Bank of India (SBI) adjusted for tax and inflation is at an 18-month low. A one-year deposit with the country’s largest lender currently earns interest at the rate of 6.25%, which works out to a 4.38% yield, assuming a tax rate of 30%. The last time the real return on term deposits slipped below the current level was in April 2016, when SBI’s one-year deposit rate was 7.25% and CPI inflation stood at 5.47%, leading to a negative real return of 0.4%. Between August 2016 and October 2017, savers enjoyed a period of positive returns as retail inflation hit multi-year lows. The spike in the real return figure comes from the combined effect of SBI lowering its retail term deposit rates by 25 basis points (bps) at the beginning of November and high food prices taking the CPI figure to a 15-month high.