Short-lived respite from inflation reversed in December – Business

ISLAMABAD: The rate of consumer inflation shot back up to 24.5pc in Dec — after a temporary decline to 23.8pc in Nov — affecting the country’s rural population the most, as prices escalated by almost 29pc.

The average six-month (July-December 2022) inflation increased to 25.02pc when compared to the same period in the previous year. It was more pronounced at about 28pc for rural areas – home to more than two-thirds of the population – compared to their urban counterparts who faced 21.6pc inflation in Dec, and average of 23.1pc over six months.

The monthly data for Dec 2022, reported by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), showed that all the groups that form the national consumer price index (CPI) showed an upward trend, except for perishable food items. But the most damaging impact was in the shape of 35.5pc food inflation in Dec 2022 and the increase in rate of prices of perishable items was even higher (56pc) in December 2022 when compared to December 2021.

Among the non-food, the prices of items showing increase included motor fuel (49.45pc), washing soap/detergents/match box (46.65pc), stationery (46.56pc), construction input items (30.59pc), motor vehicle accessories ( 29.36pc), solid fuel (28.62pc), woolen readymade garments (24.12pc), household servant (20.46pc) and construction wage rates (13.7pc).

On a MoM basis, the prices of top food commodities showing increase in December 2022 over November were fresh fruits (13.36pc), onions (9.99pc), eggs (9.71pc), wheat (9.45pc), dry fruits (8.84pc) , rice (5.85pc), chicken (5.43pc), beans (3.81pc), wheat flour (3.66pc), sugar (3.12pc), fresh milk (1.51pc) and pulse moong (0.32pc).

Likewise, the prices of non-food items like solid fuel increased by 6.63pc, washing soap/detergents/match box (5.11pc), woolen readymade garments (3.06pc), woolen cloth (2.03pc), stationery (1.91pc), marriage hall charges (1.68pc) and construction input items (1.51pc).

On the other hand, prices of tomatoes decreased by 53.96pc, fresh vegetables (24.89pc), potatoes (21.33pc), besan (3.23pc), pulse masoor (2.41pc), pulse gram (2.14pc), vegetable ghee (2.03 pc), gram whole (1.9pc), cooking oil (1.39pc), gur (0.31pc) and pulse mash (0.26pc).

Among non-food items, the prices of electricity and motor fuels dropped by 3.34pc and 1.82pc, respectively, from Nov to Dec.

Published in Dawn, January 3rd, 2023

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