ISLAMABAD - Inflation rate increased to 4.4 percent in January over a year ago due to rising oil prices, rupee depreciation and imposition of regulatory duty on the imported commodities.

Inflation measured through Consumer Price Index (CPI) was recorded at 4.42 percent during January against the same month of the last year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Inflation is on the higher side from last month due to the government’s policies regarding oil prices, rupee value etc.

Inflation is likely to further increase in the months to come due to the government’s decision of enhancing petroleum products prices. The government on Wednesday raised the prices of various POL products by 10.15 per cent. It enhanced the rate of petrol by Rs2.98 per litre and high speed diesel by Rs5.92 per litre. The increase in oil prices would increase the transportation charges, which directly impact the prices of basic food commodities.

On month-on-month basis, inflation increased by 0.8 percent in January 2018 as compared to a decrease of 0.10 percent in the previous month. Meanwhile, core inflation measured by non-food non-energy CPI (Core NFNE) increased by 5.2 percent on annual basis in January 2018 as compared to an increase of 5.5 percent in the previous month and 5.4 percent in January 2017.

According to PBS, the CPI-based inflation was recorded at 3.85 percent during first seven months (July-January) of the current fiscal year. The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which gauges rates of kitchen items on weekly basis, increased by 1.42 percent. Similarly, the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation enhanced by 2.36 percent in the period under review.

The break-up of inflation of 4.42 percent showed that food and non-alcoholic beverages prices increased by 5.1 percent. Similarly, health and education charges went up by 4.71 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively. Similarly, prices of utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) increased by 4.17 percent in last the month.

Meanwhile, the prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco went down by around 18.21 percent. Price of clothing and footwear increased by 4.3 percent and furnishing and household equipment maintenance charges 4.04 percent. Recreational charges and those related to culture went up by 0.88 percent in the period under review, while amounts charged by restaurants and hotels by 6.69 percent in January 2018 as compared to the same month last year.

In food commodities, price of betel leaves and nuts increased by 74.01 percent, chicken prices enhanced by 9.91 percent, fresh fruits 4.62 percent and rice price went up by 2.91 percent during January as compared to the month of December. In non-food commodities, price of kerosene oil enhanced by 5.26 percent, motor fuel 3.26 percent and cleaning and laundry charges went up by 2.06 percent.

According to the PBS figures, price of tomatoes decreased by 37.23 percent, fresh vegetables 13.91 percent, potatoes 25.14 percent, fresh vegetables 13.91 percent, eggs 10.71 percent, onions 9.45 percent and sugar prices went down by Rs1.1 percent.