ISLAMABAD

The country’s inflation rate has started increasing as it recoded at 3.3 percent in January against the same month of last year.

Inflation had started increasing after government imposed Rs40 billion new taxes from December last year. Inflation measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 3.3 percent in January as against the same month of the last year, according to latest data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Monday.

Pakistan’s inflation rate had remained at lower side during first five months (July-November) of the current fiscal year following tumbling oil prices. Inflation recorded at 2.7 percent in November, 1.6pc in October, 1.3pc in September, 1.7pc in August and 1.8pc in July this financial year. However inflation rebounded to 3.2 percent in December and 3.3 in January 2016.

Inflation remained at lower side during ongoing financial year as against the previous year mainly due to the tumbling oil prices in international market. “The prudent fiscal and effective monetary policies coupled with regular monitoring of prices both at federal and provincial level along with decline in international commodities and fuel prices helped in containment of inflation,” said an official of the Ministry of Finance.

However, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that Pakistan’s inflation is expected to rebound to an average rate of about 3.7 percent this year due to bottoming out of the effects of low commodity and food prices. The Fund further stated that monetary policy need to remain prudent and target clearly positive real interest rates to preserve achievements in anchoring low inflation expectations and meet the program’s monetary targets.

The State Bank of Pakistan in its latest monetary policy said, “Keeping in view the benign outlook of global commodity prices, expectation of a moderate pickup in domestic demand and further ease in supply side constraints, SBP expects the average inflation in FY16 to remain in the range of 3 to 4 percent”.

According to the PBS data, the average inflation remained at 2.26 percent during first seven months (July-January) of the ongoing financial year 2015-2016. Meanwhile, the sensitive price indicator (SPI), which gauges weekly inflation in kitchen items, has increased by 0.65 percent in July to January period as against the same months of last year. Similarly, the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation decreased by 2.02 percent in the period under review.

According to the data, food and non-alcoholic beverages prices had increased by 1.21 percent and transport charged down by 1.8 percent during January 2016.

Health and education charges went up by 2.53 percent and 8.81 percent, respectively. Similarly, prices of utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) increased by 5.01 percent in January 2016. Meanwhile, prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco stood at 26.45 percent, clothing and footwear 4.68 percent and furnishings and household equipment maintenance 3.75 percent. Charges related to recreation and culture went up 2.2 percent and restaurants and hotel 4.99 percent in January 2016 over the same month in 2015.

In food commodities, price of sugar enhanced by 5.98pc, fresh fruits 5.23pc, chicken 3.23pc, pulse mash 2.89pc, tea 1.71pc, fish 1.23pc and dry fruits 1.12pc during the month of January against previous month. Meanwhile, price of tomatoes had decreased by 38.21pc, potatoes 29.4pc, onions 14.17pc, vegetables 5.38pc, eggs 1.47pc and cooking oil 1.12pc during the period under review.