Inflation rate increases to 9.1pc in March

Eggs, fruits, potatoes, pulses, rice, wheat flour prices go up

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s inflation rate has increased to 9.1 percent in the month of March mainly due to increase in food commodities prices.

Inflation is increasing from last couple of months. Inflation measured through Consumer Price Index (CPI) was recorded at 9.1 percent in March 2021 as against 8.7 percent in February this year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Earlier, in January 2021, inflation eased to 5.7 percent. On month-on-month basis, it increased by 0.4 percent in March 2021 over February.

The federal government has recently removed Abdul Hafeez Shaikh from the post of Finance Minister due to increase in inflation rate. Prime Minister Imran Khan has appointed Hammad Azhar as Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue. Hammad Azhar has announced to take every possible measure to control the soaring inflation rate in the country with the help of provinces.  

The State Bank of Pakistan and Ministry of Finance had already warned of increase in inflation rate in the months to come. The inflation rate might surge up to 9.5 percent in the next month. “For next month it is expected to remain between 7.9 and 9.5 percent,” the ministry noted in its recent report.

According to the latest PBS data, the CPI-based inflation was recorded at 8.34 percent in the first nine months (July to March) of the current fiscal year. Meanwhile, the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which gauges rates of kitchen items on weekly basis, increased by 11.91 percent. Similarly, the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation enhanced by 6.35 per cent in the period under review. 

The break-up of inflation of 9.1 percent in March 2021 showed that food and non-alcoholic beverages prices increased by 11.58 percent. Similarly, health and education charges went up by 8.81 percent and 1.01 percent, respectively. Similarly, prices of utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) increased by 8.76 percent in the last month. Meanwhile, the prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco went up by around 5.92 percent.

Prices of clothing and footwear increased by 10.72 percent and furnishing and household equipment maintenance charges 8.85 percent. Recreational charges and those related to culture went up by 4.62 percent in the period under review, while amounts charged by restaurants and hotels by 8.13 percent in March 2021 as compared to the same month last year. 

In urban areas, the food items which saw their price increased during March 2021 over February this year included: eggs (12.96 percent), fruits (10 percent), potatoes (9.54 percent), chicken (6.58 percent), sugar (4.82 percent), tomatoes (4.67 percent), pulse mash (4.57 percent), pulse gram (4.39 percent), rice (1.61 percent) and wheat flour (1.46 percent). Meanwhile, prices of the following commodities prices decreased including onions (2.37 percent), dry fruits (2.19 percent), fish (1.78 percent) and vegetables (1.48 percent).

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt