Inflation rises to 11pc in April

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s inflation rate has increased to 11.1 per cent in April, up from 9.1pc in the previous month mainly due to increase in food commodities prices, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics on Saturday showed.

Inflation has been increasing for the last couple of months. Measured through Consumer Price Index (CPI), on a month-on-month (MoM) basis, inflation increased by 1pc in April 2021 as compared to an increase of 0.4pc in the previous month, mainly due to an increase in prices of chicken, cooking oil/ghee, sugar, wheat, and pulses for the end consumers. At the same time, non-food inflation has steadily been on the rise for the past few months due to higher energy prices.

It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Imran Khan has made several changes to his economic team in the past last month, aiming to bring policies to control the upward trend of inflation.

Newly appointed Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, while chairing the National Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) meeting on April 26, had asked authorities concerned to take all possible measures to control the soaring inflation rate with the help of provinces. 

However, the month of April coupled with start of fasting in the middle of the month noted an accelerated growth in prices of vegetables, fruit, chicken and oil especially in the province of Punjab, followed by Sindh, Balochistan, Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

In urban areas, food items that saw a jump in prices in April from the previous month included tomatoes 67.70pc, vegetables 29.55pc, fruits 22.32pc, potatoes 15.81pc, chicken 7.31pc, cooking oil 2.99pc, vegetable ghee 2.01pc, meat 1.64pc, condiments and spices 1.54pc, and gram whole 1.25pc.

The items whose prices declined in urban areas were wheat 9.14pc, onions 8.33pc, wheat flour 1.94pc, sugar 1.83pc and pulse moong 1.59pc.

In rural areas, tomatoes prices are higher by 55.54pc, fruits 25.20pc, vegetables 21.71pc, potatoes 12.15pc, cooking oil 2.25pc, vegetable ghee 1.83pc, meat 1.59pc and mustard oil 1.15pc. However, the prices of onions decreased by 14.47pc, wheat 10.23pc, sugar 3.13pc, pulse masoor 2.57pc, besan 2.24pc, pulse moong 1.68pc, wheat flour 1.56pc and chicken 1.12pc.

Non-food inflation in urban centres was recorded at 8.2pc year-on-year increase and 0.5pc month-on-month increase, whereas in rural areas it rose by 8.9pc and 0.3pc, respectively. The month-on-month increase in non-food inflation indicates a further increase in coming months.

The urban CPI covers 35 cities and 356 items, while the rural one tracks 27 centres and 244 products. The former grew by 11pc year-on-year in April whereas the latter jumped by 11.3pc.

Core inflation in urban areas was recorded at 7pc in April, compared to 6.3pc in the previous month. In rural areas, it edges up to 7.7pc in April from 7.3pc in the previous month.

Average inflation measured by the Sensitive Price Index surged to 21.3pc in April from 18.7pc during the previous month. On month-on-month basis, it increased by 2.6pc in April.

The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) was slightly up from the previous month’s 14.6pc to 16.6pc in April, showing month-on-month increase of 2pc.

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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