ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation eased to 23.8 percent in November 2022 from 26.6 percent in October, mainly due to a slowdown in house-rent, utility charges, food and transportation expenses, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) reported on Thursday.
Interestingly, the core inflation (excluding the food and energy components) also contracted from 14.9 percent in October 2022 -- the highest since 2010 -- to 14.6 percent in November. If the downtrend in the core inflation persists, the State Bank of Pakistan could reverse its aggressive policy, as recently the bank has increased the discount rate by 100 basis points to 16 percent.
Food inflation has the highest weightage in the CPI basket, averaging 8.21 percent from 2011 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 36.24 percent in October 2022 and a record low of negative 1.06 percent in September 2015.
Now during November, the food inflation was recorded at 31.16 percent. The prices of house rent and utility charges (water, electricity, gas, and fuels) were recorded at 9.9 percent against 11.92 percent in October. Similarly, in November transportation charges were 44.22 percent costlier (53.43pc in October). Restaurants and hoteling expenses also tamed a little to 28.4 percent from 30.4 percent in October.
Conversely, costs advanced for health to 17.1 percent in November from 16.3 percent in October, furnishing and household equipment maintenance to 29.1 percent against 27.6 percent, and education charges increased 11.1 percent versus 10.9 percent in October. Clothing and footwear cost also increased by 18.58 percent in November against 18.28 percent in October.
Alcoholic beverages and tobacco prices also increased to 35.9 percent compared to 34.6 percent in October
Since November 2021, inflation is in double digits. In April 2022, it was at 13.4 percent, May 13.8 percent, June 21.3 percent, July 24.9 percent, August 27.3 percent (record high), September 23.2 percent, October 26.6 percent, and now in November 2022 it arrived at 23.8 percent. In the same month of last year (November 2021) the CPI was 11.5 percent.
According to the CPI bulletin, on a month-on-month basis, the inflation increased by 0.8 percent in November as compared to an increase of 4.7 percent in the previous month and an increase of 3.0 percent in November 2021.
Similarly, another indicator of inflation, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), also eased to 27.7 percent in November 2022 against an increase of 32.6 percent in October and an increase of 27 percent in November 2021.
The weekly Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) also increased year-on-year basis to 27.1 percent in November 2022 as compared to an increase of 24 percent in October 2022 and 18.1 percent in November 2021.
Urban inflation in November 2022 eased to 21.6 percent yearly as compared to 24.6 percent in October and 12 percent in November 2022. The rural CPI also reduced to 27.2 percent on a year-on-year basis in November 2022 as compared to an increase of 29.5 percent in the previous month and 10.9 percent in November 2021.
Similarly, the urban core CPI (excluding food and energy components) arrived at 14.6 percent on a year-on-year basis in November 2022 against an increase of 14.9 percent in October and 7.6 percent in Nov 2021. Likewise, the rural core CPI increased 18.5 percent on a year-on-year basis in November 2022 as compared to 18.2 percent in the last month and 8.2 percent in November 2021.
In a month, the prices of onions increased by 34.4 percent, tea 14.8 percent, potatoes 14.6 percent, dry fruits 12.8 percent, fish 7.01 percent, eggs 5.34 percent, butter 5 percent, sugar 3.7 percent, milk powder 3 percent and wheat products 2.15 percent.
However, prices of fresh vegetables declined in November by 26.4 percent, lentil masoor 11.2 percent, tomatoes 9.6 percent, pulse gram 5.5 percent, chicken 5.1 percent, lentil mash 4.3 percent, besan 3.5 percent, lentil moong 3.05 percent and chickpea whole price reduced by 2.01 percent over a month ago.
In the non-food sector, the charges for woolen readymade garments increased by 12.7 percent in a month in November, solid fuel by 5.9 percent, household textiles by 5.5 percent and washing soap/ detergents/ matchbox by 3.6 percent over the previous month. Whereas, liquified hydrocarbon prices were reduced by 3.06 percent, transport services by 1.54 percent, and electricity charges by 0.34 percent.
On a year-on-year basis, the prices of onions increased 285 percent, gram whole 63.5 percent, tea 62.2 percent, pulse gram 56.2 percent, besan 56 percent, butter 53 percent, pulse mash 47.8 percent, pulse moong 46.3 percent, mustard oil 44.7 percent, wheat 43.4 percent, cooking oil 41.9 percent, dessert preparation 40 percent, rice 39.75 percent, pulse masoor 38.7 percent over a year ago. However, sugar prices were reduced by 9.9 percent, condiments, and spices by 9.78 percent, and jiggery (Gur) prices down by 3.64 percent.
Among non-food items, the charges for motor fuel on a year-on-year basis increased 52 percent, stationery 44.6 percent, washing soap/ detergents/ matchbox 43.4 percent, transport services 33.4 percent, motor vehicle accessories 31.5 percent, construction input items 30 percent over the same month of the last year prices.