ISLAMABAD: Consumer inflation shot back up to 24.5 percent in December – after a temporary drop to 23.8 percent in November – hitting the country’s rural population hardest as prices escalated nearly 29 percent.
Average six-month inflation (July-December 2022) rose to 25.02 percent compared to the same period last year. It was more pronounced, at about 28 percent, for rural areas — home to more than two-thirds of the population — than for their urban counterparts, which faced 21.6 percent inflation in December and 23.1 percent inflation on average over six months were.
Monthly data for December 2022, reported by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), showed that all groups constituting the national consumer price index (CPI) showed an upward trend except for perishable food. However, the most damaging impact was food inflation of 35.5 percent in December 2022, and the rate of inflation for perishable goods was even higher (56 percent) in December 2022 compared to December 2021.
The PBS said the December 2022 headline inflation CPI rose to 24.5 percent year-on-year (YoY), compared to a 23.8 percent increase in the previous month. The general consumer price index fell to 23.8 percent last month from a peak of 26.6 percent in October, but the decline was short-lived.
Everything but perishables rose in price in the last month of 2022
Urban inflation rose to 21.6 percent year-on-year in December 2022, compared with increases of 21.6 percent in the previous month and 12.7 percent in December 2021. Rural CPI, on the other hand, rose to 28.8 percent year-on-year. Annual basis in December 2022 compared to an increase of 27.2 percent in the previous month and 11.6 percent in December 2021.
The increase in the pace of inflation was generally in line with Treasury Department expectations, which forecast average annual inflation of between 21 and 23 percent.
Core (urban) inflation, measured after excluding volatile food and energy prices, rose to 14.7 percent year-on-year in December 2022, compared with increases of 14.6 percent in the previous month and 8.3 percent in December 2021.
On a monthly basis (MoM), it increased by 1.2 percent in December 2022, compared with an increase of 0.8 percent in the previous month and an increase of 1.1 percent in the corresponding month of the previous year, i.e. December 2021.
Inflation (rural) rose to 19 percent year-on-year in December 2022, compared with increases of 18.5 percent in the previous month and 8.9 percent in December 2021. On a MoM basis, it increased by 1.5 percent compared to December 2022 percent to an increase of 2.1 percent in the previous month and an increase of 1.1 percent in the corresponding month of last year, i.e. December 2021.
PBS data showed that the prices of most groceries have increased significantly. Some of the top groceries that rose in price through December 2022 compared to the same month last year were onions (414.98 percent to 463.5 percent), tea (63.81 percent), wheat (57.26 percent), eggs (54.38 percent). percent), whole grams (53.18 percent). ), Rice (46.61 pcs), Besan (46.41 pcs), Legume Gram (45.2 pcs), Chicken (43.76 pcs), Legume Moong (42.82 pcs) , mustard oil (41.48 pieces), wheat flour (40.58 pieces), legume puree (38.28 pieces), cooking oil (31.97 pieces), vegetable ghee (30.07 pieces), fresh milk ( 26 pieces), potatoes (24.72 pieces), dried fruits (36.25 pieces), fresh fruits (33.94 pieces) and legumes (24.61 pieces). ).
On the other hand, in December 2022, the prices of spices and condiments fell by 8.05 percent and 2.68 gur compared to the previous year.
Among non-food items, the prices of items showing an increase included fuel (49.45 pcs), laundry soap/detergent/matchbox (46.65 pcs), stationery (46.56 pcs), building materials (30.59 pieces), automotive accessories (29.36 percent), solid fuel (28.62 percent), woolen clothing (24.12 percent), domestic workers (20.46 percent) and construction workers (13.7 percent).
On a MoM basis, the main food prices that increased in December 2022 compared to November were fresh fruit (13.36 pcs), onions (9.99 pcs), eggs (9.71 pcs), wheat ( 9.45 pcs.), Dried fruits (8.84 pcs.). , rice (5.85 pcs.), chicken (5.43 pcs.), beans (3.81 pcs.), wheat flour (3.66 pcs.), sugar (3.12 pcs.), fresh milk (1 .51 pcs.) and legumes (0.32 pcs.).
Also, prices of non-food items such as solid fuel increased by 6.63 pcs, laundry soap/detergent/matchbox (5.11 pcs), woolen ready-to-wear (3.06 pcs), woolen cloth (2.03 pcs) , stationery (1.91 pcs.), marriage fees (1.68 pcs.) and building materials (1.51 pcs.).
On the other hand, the prices of tomatoes fell by 53.96 pcs, fresh vegetables (24.89 pcs), potatoes (21.33 pcs), besan (3.23 pcs), legumes (2.41 pcs), Legumes (2.14 pcs.), vegetable ghee (2.03 pcs.), whole grams (1.9 pcs.), cooking oil (1.39 pcs.), gur (0.31 pcs.) and legume pulp (0.26 pcs .).
Among non-food items, electricity and fuel prices fell 3.34 percent and 1.82 percent, respectively, from November to December.
Published in Dawn, January 3, 2023