ISLAMABAD: The upward swing in consumer prices continued in October as inflation surged to 9.2 per cent from 9pc in September, influenced by faster rupee depreciation and rising energy prices last month, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) data showed on Monday.
Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased to its highest level in four months — the period when global oil prices kept on rising steadily undermining earlier gains. At the same time, prices of fresh vegetables, fruits and meat have also posted a persistent increase in major urban centres.
The average inflation during the July-October period rose to 8.74pc on a yearly basis. Inflation had started declining after surging to 11.1pc in April, mainly driven by a drop in prices of agricultural products. The trend is reversing now on the back of a rise in prices of petroleum products.
In 2020-21, annual CPI inflation was recorded at 8.90pc against 10.74pc the preceding year.
Commenting on the growing inflation in the country, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said it was a global issue, adding that “prices of commodities in the world are not in my control”. Pakistan is now importing wheat and sugar, besides pulses, he said, adding that higher prices in the international market would affect domestic prices as well.
Responding to questions regarding inflation at the sidelines of the launching of Pakistan Single Window, Mr Tarin stressed that the supply chain was affected due to the coronavirus pandemic; however, the economy is now recovering.
Food inflation is still at a higher level as in urban areas it jumped by 9.4pc in October on a yearly basis and 1.5pc on a monthly basis, whereas the respective growth in prices in rural areas stood at 7.2pc and 2.6pc.
The PBS data showed that in urban areas, food items, which saw an increase in their prices in October as compared to the previous month, included chicken 17.91pc, vegetables 15.26pc, potatoes 12.17pc, wheat 7.25pc, tea 4.93pc, mustard oil 4.68pc, vegetable ghee 2.72pc, gur 2.68pc, fish 2.22pc, cooking oil 1.77pc, meat 1.72pc, beans 1.50pc and fruits 1.10pc.
In urban areas, the prices of onions declined by 12.70pc, sugar 7.72pc, pulse moong 6.14pc, eggs 5.94pc, condiments and spices 3.85pc, pulse gram 2.30pc, pulse mash 2.12pc and wheat flour by 1.44pc.
Non-food inflation in urban centres was recorded at 9.7pc year-on-year and 1.8pc month-on-month, whereas in rural areas it rose by 10pc and 1.9pc, respectively. The increase in non-food inflation was mainly driven by a hefty rise in oil prices in October.
Core inflation in urban areas was 6.7pc in October as against 6.4pc the previous month. In rural areas, the corresponding increase was 6.7pc as against 6.2pc.
The State Bank determines the key policy rate — currently at 7.25pc — based on the core inflation rate.
Average inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Index eased to 15.2pc in October from 16.6pc a month earlier, while the Wholesale Price Index surged to 19.6pc during the month under review from 1 7.1pc.
Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2021