Islamabad - Inflation rate has once again rebound as consumer price indicator (CPI) has surged to 8.5 percent in March 2014 over a year ago.
According to the latest figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the CPI based inflation has once again started upward journey after decreasing in last couple of months.
The CPI - the main national indicator reflecting change in prices of basket of goods and services - clocked in at 8.5 percent in March 2014. Earlier in January and February too, the CPI remained at 7.9pc mainly because of a reduction in the prices of perishable food items due to their better availability in the market.
The government might struggle to restrict it under the budgeted target of eight percent during ongoing financial year 2013-14, as inflation has started increasing once again. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in their recent reports have warned of increase in inflation in the months to come mainly due to the further adjustments to electric and gas tariffs, as well as a levy to support gas infrastructure development.
The IMF has noted that inflation rate is projected to hover around 10 percent in the remainder of this fiscal year. Similarly, the ADB has forecasted that inflation rate would be nine percent during ongoing financial year 2013-14. Meanwhile, the State Bank of Pakistan also expects average CPI inflation for FY14 to fall between 10 to 11 per cent, which would be higher than the target of 8 percent announced by the government. Therefore, keeping in view the reports of these organisations, one could say that government might not achieve the inflation target during FY14.
According to PBS figures, CPI based inflation has recorded at 8.64 percent during first nine months (July-March) of the ongoing financial year 2013-14. Meanwhile, the CPI-based inflation enhanced by one percent during the month of March 2014. The sensitive price indicator, which gauges weekly inflation in kitchen items, has decreased by 2.1 per cent in March 2014. Meanwhile, Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation increased by 0.3 percent. In March 2014, prices of food and nonalcoholic beverages shot up 8.84 percent, alcoholic beverages and tobacco 16.04 percent, clothing and footwear 11.63 percent, housing and utilities charges 9.21 percent, transportation fares 3.75 percent and healthcare charges 7.22 percent as compared to March 2013. Charges of recreation and culture were up by 7.67 percent, education 6.88 percent and restaurant and hotel 13.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the PBS data showed that price of tomatoes increased by 53.32 per cent in the month of March against February, price of potatoes enhanced by 39.17 percent, price of eggs went up by 15.29 percent, price of fresh fruits surged by 9.28 percent, price of pulse moong increased by 6.31 percent, price of chicken surged by 6.11 percent, price of sugar went up by 4.21 percent, price of fish enhanced by 2.79 percent, price of Betel Leaves & Nuts enhanced by 1.53 percent and price of wheat flour raised by 1.03 percent during the month of March over February.
Meanwhile, prices of following commodities decreased, tea 3.49 percent, besan 1.12 percent, mustard oil 0.09 percent and gram whole by 0.08 percent.