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Brief respite from inflation reversed in December - Business

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ISLAMABAD: The consumer inflation rate rose again to 24.5% in December – after a temporary decline to 23.8% in November – hitting the country’s rural population hardest, with prices rising by almost 29%.

Half-year average inflation (July-Dec 2022) increased to 25.02pc when compared to the same period a year ago. It was most pronounced at around 28% in rural areas – home to more than two-thirds of the population – compared to their urban counterparts who faced inflation of 21.6% in December and a six-month average of 23.1%.

Monthly data for December 2022 reported by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed that all groups making up the national consumer price index (CPI) showed an upward trend, except for perishable foods. But the most damaging impact came in the form of food inflation of 35.5pc in Dec 2022 and the rise in the perishable item price rate was even greater (56pc) in Dec 2022 when compared to Dec 2021.

Among non-food products, the prices of items that increased were fuel (49.45pc), soap/detergents/box of matches (46.65pc), stationery (46.56pc), construction supplies (30.59pc ), motor vehicle accessories (29.36pc), solid fuel (28.62pc), wool ready-to-wear (24.12pc), domestic servants (20.46pc) and construction wages (13.7pc).

On a MoM basis, the main food commodity prices showing increase in December 2022 from November were fresh fruits (13.36pc), onions (9.99pc), eggs (9.71pc), wheat (9.45pc) , dried 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).

Similarly, prices for non-food items such as solid fuel increased by 6.63pc, soap/detergents/matchbox (5.11pc), woolen apparel (3.06pc), woolen fabrics (2.03pc), stationery (1.91pc), wedding fees (1.68pc) and construction items (1.51pc).

On the other hand, prices for tomatoes decreased 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), whole grass (1.9 pc), cooking oil (1.39 pc), gur (0.31 pc) and pulse puree (0.26 pc).

Among non-food items, electricity and fuel prices fell by 3.34pc and 1.82pc respectively from November to December.

Posted on Dawn, January 3, 2023