Inflation eases slightly to 10.9pc in May

Published June 1, 2021
Prices of essential commodities, including chicken, eggs, meat, vegetables, pulses, sugar and rice, have been on the rise. — APP/File
Prices of essential commodities, including chicken, eggs, meat, vegetables, pulses, sugar and rice, have been on the rise. — APP/File

The country's annual inflation rate slightly eased to 10.87 per cent year-on-year in May, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Tuesday.

That compared with an annual consumer price index increase of 11.1pc in the previous month. The data came days ahead of the annual budget announcement.

Prices of essential commodities, including chicken, eggs, meat, vegetables, pulses, sugar and rice, have been on the rise, hitting hard a population already under pressure from the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April, inflation entered a double-digit figure following a gap of 12 months after falling to 5.7pc in January 2021. It is mainly driven by double-digit growth in food inflation in both urban and rural areas.

The month of April coupled with the start of Ramazan in the middle of the month noted an accelerated growth in prices of vegetables, fruit, chicken and oil especially in Punjab, followed by Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

At the beginning of the current fiscal year, inflation was recorded at 9.3pc in July, easing down to 8.2pc in August before rebounding to 9pc in September. From September, inflation went on a downward trajectory, giving some relief to the end consumers.

However, it rebounded in February. A few consumer items as well as energy prices pushed up inflation in March again, with the result that food inflation entered double digits the next month in both urban and rural areas. The prices of some food items are still on an upward trajectory.

Higher food prices, especially with the start of Ramazan, pulled up inflation as prices of the food group rose 15.7pc year-on-year basis and 2.7pc month-on-month basis in April in urban areas. The situation is almost the same in rural areas where prices of food group have risen to 14.1pc year-on-year basis and 0.9pc month-on-month basis in April.

The government has imported wheat and sugar to bridge shortfalls and improve supplies in the market. Between July and March, the government imported 3.612 million tonnes of wheat against zero imports last year.

Similarly, the import of sugar stood at 279,529 tonnes during the nine months of the current fiscal year as against 4,751 tonnes over the corresponding period of last year, showing an increase of 5,783pc.

The urban CPI covers 35 cities and 356 items, while the rural one tracks 27 centres and 244 products.

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