Inflation crosses 31pc level

ISLAMABAD  -  Inflation has once again accelerat­ed to 31.4 percent in September this year mainly due to the massive in­crease in petroleum products and electricity prices in the country.

Inflation measured through con­sumer price indicator (CPI) was eased to 27.4 percent in August 2023. However, it once again increased to 31.4 percent in September 2023 after a massive hike in petroleum products prices and electricity tariff in the last couple of months, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The feder­al government for the current fiscal year 2023-24 had set an inflation target at 21.5 per­cent.

According to the latest data of PBS, the inflation on a monthly basis increased to 2 percent in September 2023 as compared to an increase of 1.7 percent in the previous month. The CPI inflation Urban in­creased by 27.9 percent on a year-on-year basis in Septem­ber 2023. Meanwhile, the CPI inflation for Rural enhanced by 33.9 percent. The Sensi­tive Price Index (SPI), which gauges rates of kitchen items on a weekly basis, increased by 29.75 percent. On a month­ly basis, Wholesale Price Index (WPI) inflation on YoY basis increased by 24.61 percent in September 2023.

The Ministry of Finance has already projected inflation to remain high in the coming month, as it is expected to be around 29 to 31 percent in the month of September this year. The ministry noted that in­flation would increase owing to the major increase in fuel price in the month of Septem­ber 2023. “Together with this, the upward adjustment in en­ergy tariffs is further likely to intensify inflationary pres­sures in the coming months as these price adjustments are expected to place addition­al burden on transportation costs, essential items, and ser­vices,” the ministry noted in its report, ‘Monthly update & out­look September 2023’.

The break-up of inflation of 31.44 percent showed that food and non-alcoholic bever­ages prices increased by 33.11 percent last month. Similarly, health and education charges went up by 25.28 percent and 11.12 percent, respective­ly. Similarly, prices of utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) increased by 29.7 percent in the last month. 

Meanwhile, the prices of al­coholic beverages and tobac­co went up by around 87.45 percent. Prices of clothing and footwear increased by 20.55 percent and furnishing and household equipment main­tenance charges 39.32 per­cent. Recreational charges and those related to culture went up by 58.77 percent in the period under review, while amounts charged by restau­rants and hotels by 34.3 per­cent in September 2023 as compared to the same month last year.

In urban areas, the food items which saw their prices increased during September 2023 included onions (39.32 percent), pulse masoor (19.80 percent), fresh vegetables (11.77 percent), sugar (10.28 percent), pulse mash (9.46 percent), beans (7.14 percent), condiments and spices (6.30 percent), gur (6.27 percent), pulse moong (5.51 percent), fresh fruits (4.46 percent), pulse gram (2.90 percent), milk powder (2.61 percent), milk fresh (2.03 percent) and besan (1.94 percent). In non-food commodities, prices of following commodities en­hanced included motor fuel (11.30 percent), liquefied hy­drocarbons (9.23 percent), transport services (4.29 per­cent), dental services (2.51 percent), household servant (2.39 percent), medical tests (1.82 percent), communica­tion apparatus (1.78 percent), washing soap/detergents/match box (1.53 percent), mo­tor vehicle accessories (1.47 percent) and construction in­put items (1.37 percent).

In urban areas, prices of fol­lowing items were reduced to­matoes (13.80 percent), chick­en (11.82 percent), cooking oil (1.52 percent), potatoes (1.07 percent), wheat (0.95 percent), vegetable ghee (0.79 percent), tea (0.73 percent) and wheat flour (0.40 percent).

In rural areas, prices of fol­lowing commodities increased including onions (45.16 per­cent), pulse masoor (14.05 percent), fresh vegetables (12.66 percent), sugar (12.49 percent), pulse mash (8.02 percent), gur (6.70 percent), beans (4.99 percent), pulse moong (4.90 percent), condi­ments and spices (4.45 per­cent), pulse gram (3.52 per­cent), wheat products (3.05 percent), readymade food (2.96 percent), rice (2.74 per­cent), eggs (2.44 percent), dry fruits (2.33 percent), meat (2.24 percent), milk pow­der (2.17 percent) and gram whole (1.65 percent).