ISLAMABAD - The inflation rate recorded an increase of 3.6 percent in August 2016 as against the same month last year due to continuous increase in prices of perishable food items.

The prices of around 481 commodities in urban centers were noted down under the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Meanwhile, an increase of 3.84 percent was registered during first couple of months (July and August) of the ongoing financial year, 2016-17, as compared to the corresponding period last year, as per information provided by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS).

It is pertinent to mention here that the government has set the inflation rate target at 6 percent for the current fiscal year.

The reduced oil prices in the international market have been helping the government in keeping the inflation rate under 5 percent for more than a year now.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has maintained policy rate at 5.75 percent for two months (August and September). The SBP’s recent policy statement has suggested a cautious approach. The statement says that increased economic activity might affect inflation and has forecast the average CPI inflation in the range of 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent in the current FY.

Meanwhile, the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which gauges rates of kitchen items on weekly basis, increased by 2.2 percent in August 2016 as against the same month last year.

Similarly, the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation increased by 3.5 percent in the period under review.

The breakup of 3.56 percent inflation recorded in August shows that food and non-alcoholic beverages prices increased by 2.45 percent. Similarly, health and education charges went up by 5.82 percent and 7.62 percent, respectively. Similarly, prices of utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) increased by 4.77 percent in August 2016.

Meanwhile, the prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco stood at 17.91 percent; those of clothing and footwear at 4.84 percent and furnishing and household equipment maintenance charges at 3.78 percent.

Recreational charges and those related to culture went up by 1.42 percent in the period under review, while amounts charged by restaurants and hotels stood at 6.2 percent in August 2016 as compared to the same month last year.

In food commodities, price of eggs increased by 8.01 percent; sugar 6.62 percent; potatoes 4.24 percent, pulse gram whole 2.6 percent; gur 2.55 percent and rice by 1.02 percent in August as compared to the preceding month.

Likewise, prices of vehicles went up by 1.88 percent; drugs and medicines 1.67 percent; personal equipment by 1.19 percent and medical equipments by 0.9 percent.

According to the PBS figures, prices of chicken decreased by 14.78 percent; tomatoes 13.88 percent; onions 13.62 percent; fresh fruits 9.32 percent; vegetables 3.98 percent and pulse moong 1.98 percent in August as compared to July.