ISLAMABAD  -  Inflation rate touched 5.84 percent during August 2018, highest in last 45 months, mainly due to increase in petroleum products prices.

Inflation measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) was recorded at 5.84 percent during August over a year ago, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). Inflation is on the rise since last three months due to the impact of rupee depreciation and increase in oil prices. However, inflation may ease down in ongoing month due to recent decline in oil prices. The PTI-led government had reduced the petroleum products prices by up to Rs6.37 per litre for September. The government decreased High Speed Diesel (HSD) by Rs 6.37 per litre and petrol by Rs 2.41 per litre.

It would be challenge for the government to restrict the inflation. The State Bank of Pakistan’s projection showed that average headline inflation for FY19 is expected to cross the 6.0 percent annual target. The government has set inflation target at 6 percent for the ongoing fiscal year 2018-19.

According to the PBS, on month-on-month basis, inflation increased by 0.2 percent in August 2018 as compared to an increase of 0.9 percent in the previous month. Meanwhile, core inflation measured by non-food non-energy CPI (Core NFNE) increased by 7.7 percent on annual basis in August 2018 as compared to an increase of 7.6 percent in the previous month and 5.5 percent in August 2018. The Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI), which gauges rates of kitchen items on weekly basis, increased by 3.42 percent. Similarly, the wholesale price index (WPI) based inflation enhanced by 10.75 percent in the period under review.

The break-up of inflation of 5.84 percent showed that food and non-alcoholic beverages prices increased by 3.29 percent. Similarly, health and education charges went up by 5.7 percent and 12.93 percent, respectively. Similarly, prices of utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) increased by 5.97 percent in last the month. Meanwhile, the prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco went up by around 2.36 percent. Price of clothing and footwear increased by 6.47 percent and furnishing and household equipment maintenance charges 5.9 percent.  Recreational charges and those related to culture went up by 6.91 percent in the period under review, while amounts charged by restaurants and hotels by 5.95 percent in August 2018 as compared to the same month last year.

In food commodities, price of tomatoes increased by 47.59 percent, onion prices enhanced by 25.95 percent, potatoes price went up by 6.84 percent and meat prince up by Rs1.42 percent during August as compared to the month of July. In non-food commodities, prices of motor vehicles increased by 2.41 percent, cost of motor fuels enhanced by 1.43 percent, utensils prices surged by 1.21 percent, and prices of construction input items and kerosene prices also showed increased during August as against July.

According to the PBS figures, price of chicken decreased by 20.11 percent, betel leaves and nuts prices reduced by 4.49 percent, fresh vegetables 3.46 percent, fresh fruits 3.02 percent, eggs 2.39 percent and gram whole price recorded decline of 0.82 percent during August over July.