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Inflation eases to 6.2pc in December

Updated January 03, 2019


Marginal decline in inflation is due to increase in average prices of essential food items. — File photo
Marginal decline in inflation is due to increase in average prices of essential food items. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The country’s inflation clocked in at 6.2 per cent in Dec 2018, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI) based inflation in Nov 2018 had already slowed to 6.5pc after touching record four-year high at 6.78pc in Oct 2018.

The marginal decline in inflation was due to incremental increase in average prices of essential food items coupled with a sharp decline in fresh vegetables and higher-than-expected drop in fresh fruits at major urban centres.

Central bank’s tightening monetary policy has come on the back of rising inflation amidst depreciating rupee and high global crude prices during the last two years.

Policy rates are already at their six-year highs, after the State Bank of Pakistan raised the key rate by 150 basis points to 10pc in the last monetary policy announcement made on Nov 30, 2018. The central bank has raised interest rates by 4.25pc since Jan 2018.

In Dec 2018, food inflation was up 0.9pc on an annual basis but dipped 1.4pc month-wise. Prices of non-perishable food items were up 0.33pc while those of perishable products fell by 13.78pc.

Food items whose prices increased the most in Dec 2018 include honey 5.6pc, pulse moong 4.06pc, pulse gram 2.96pc, beans 2.7pc, pulse mash 2.55pc, pulse masoor 2.29pc, cooking oil 1.92pc and dry fruits 1.74pc.

In the same category, however, fresh vegetables dipped 21.78pc, tomatoes 21.14pc, potatoes 20.23pc, onions 13.23pc, chicken 6.8pc, fresh fruits 1.83pc and eggs 1.31pc.

On the other hand, non-food inflation went up 9.8pc and 0.2pc on yearly and monthly basis respectively.

In the non-food items, price of personal equipment increased 2.69pc, motor vehicles accessories 2.4pc, woollen readymade garments 2.07pc, washing soap and detergents 1.44pc, plastic products 1.41pc, household servant 1.18pc and mechanical services 1.17pc.

In the same category, transport services price dropped 1.57pc, kerosene oil 1.01pc and motor fuel 0.67pc. The non-food prices also remained under pressure on account of 10.37pc rise in education index, followed by 7.73pc increase in clothing and footwear and 9.08pc in housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel during the period under review.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2019