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December 2, 2016



Consumer inflation clocks in at 3.8pc in Nov as food prices up

KARACHI: Consumer inflation clocked in at 3.8 percent year-on-year in November, which, albeit lower than the previous month reading, showed an uptrend as compared to the same month last year as food and energy prices rose, official data showed on Thursday. 


The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) had recorded consumer price inflation (CPI) at 4.2 percent in October and 2.7 percent in November 2015.  Food inflation, which holds more than one-third weight in the CPI basket, increased 2.5 percent year-on-year, while the housing, water, electricity, gas and fuels with the second highest weight got further dearer. In percentage term, the latter’s group inflation rose 4.92 percent in November over the same month a year ago. 

A significant recovery in international oil prices signaled that consumer inflation in the months ahead would be driven by oil price hike. International crude prices recovered 10 percent after the influential oil producing countries announced the first cut in their output since 2008. Oil lost half of its prices since 2014 in a market, dogged by oversupply. 

Besides, rupee is losing its value against the U.S. dollar. Rupee depreciated 32 paisas in the last five months. It lost three percent of its value against dollar during the last fiscal year of 2015/16.

Rupee depreciation will also lead to an uptick in inflation in a country, which is reliant on imports to meet its energy and food needs. Food imports account for around 12 percent of import bills. 

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) maintained its key policy rate at 5.75 for the November-December period despite an inflation uptrend.  The SBP said expected increase in global oil and commodity prices and uptick in domestic demand are likely to keep inflation high.

The central bank also feared that uncertainty about foreign inflows could pose threat to current account. The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics measured November CPI at 0.2 percent month-on-month as against 0.8 percent in October and 0.6 percent in November 2015. Food inflation inched up 0.19 percent in November over October and cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and fuels edged up 0.04 percent month-on-month.

In November, prices of gram whole rose 44.06 percent over the same month a year ago, followed by pulse gram (39.95 percent), Besan (33.36 percent), potatoes (26.06 percent), sugar (22.31 percent), eggs (20.12 percent), cigarettes (17.08 percent), fresh vegetables (15.78 percent), betel leaves and nuts (9.23 percent) and pulse mash (5.7 percent).

Prices of onion fell 55.45 percent year-on-year in November, followed by tomatoes (38.88 percent), pulse moong (7.19 percent) and tea (6.21 percent).

Cost of education increased 11.54 percent year-on-year, followed by water supply (9.89pc), health clinic fees (8.93pc), medical equipment (8.53pc), medicines (8.53pc), personal equipment (8.51pc), house rent (6.65pc) and tailoring (6.57pc).

In non-food items, prices of fuel decreased 9.09 percent, kerosene oil (7.16pc) and motor vehicle accessories (5.93pc).

In November, prices of eggs rose 23.21 percent over October, followed by potatoes (21.14pc), pulse gram (7.28pc), besan (5.85pc), sugar (3.85pc), gram whole (2.62pc), mustard oil (1.46pc) and dried fruit (1.44pc).

Prices of tomatoes fell 14.63 percent month-on-month in November, followed by fresh fruits (7.95 percent), onion (5.66 percent), pulse mash (3.98 percent), chicken (3.77 percent), gur (3.42 percent) and pulse moong (1.48 percentc).

Prices of non-food items, including woolen readymade garments and woolen cloth increased 2.78 percent and 1.22 percent month-on-month in November, respectively. Household cost decreased 0.03 percent.

In November, the wholesale price index decreased 0.21 percent over October. It increased 2.56 percent over the corresponding month of the last year, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.