Inflation touches highest point in 15 years

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VIAMehtab Haider
SOURCEThe News
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ISLAMABAD: Inflationary pressures for consumers in the last five months have witnessed the highest ever hike in prices on monthly basis of last 10 to 15 years. inflation

During July-November period of the current fiscal year 2019-20, the CPI based inflation peaked to 12.67 percent in November 2019, thus surpassing all regional countries on the rate of increasing prices compared to India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and even Afghanistan. The monthly buildup in inflationary pressures stood at average hiking inflation by over 1 to 1.5 percent in the last five months, a level that had never witnessed in last 15 years.

Under the rule of PTI-led regime, the major drivers of rising inflation can be attributed to food, energy prices and transport fares. Contrary to double digit CPI based inflation in Pakistan, it remained on lower side in India where it stood at 4.6 percent by October, Bangladesh 5.7 percent, Sri Lanka 4.4 percent and Afghanistan 3.75 percent.

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“The mismanagement and lack of effective governance played havoc as it pushed up inflationary pressures. The gas prices went up by 141 percent, electricity by almost 20 percent and inflation expectations also contributed to increasing daily routine prices,” top official sources confirmed to The News here on Monday. The depreciation of exchange rate also hiked inflationary pressures, said the official.

Also Read: Inflation skyrockets to 9-year high at 12.7% in Nov

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the CPI inflation general, increased by 12.7 percent on year-on-year basis in November 2019 as compared to an increase of 11.0 percent in the previous month and 5.7 percent in November 2018. On month-on-month basis, it increased by 1.3 percent in November 2019 as compared to an increase of 1.8 percent in the previous month and a decrease of 0.1 percent in November 2018.

The National Consumer Price Index of November 2019 is increased by 1.34 percent over October 2019 and increased by 12.67 percent over corresponding month of the last year i.e. November 2018.

There are major increases in prices of certain food items as the prices of tomato went up by 436.88 percent, onions 156.06 percent, pulse moong 54.03 percent, potatoes 42.40 percent, pulse mash 41.6 percent, fresh vegetables 40.36 percent, sugar 33.46 percent, Butter 31.65 percent, Gur30.12 percent, condiments and spices 19.24 percent, tea 16.98 percent, vegetable ghee 16.59 percent, wheat flour 16.19 percent, cooking oil 15.61 percent, pulse masoor 15.51 percent, wheat 15.34 percent, meat 13.4 percent, pulse gram 12.14 percent and milk powder 11.21 percent in November 2019 against the prices of these items in same month of 2018. The prices of chicken decreased by 15.00 percent and eggs 7.91 percent.

An official of the ruling PTI, while admitting that prices have gone up, said that the government has taken drastic measures to correct the past blunders.

He said that the government’s economic policy will bear fruit and people will feel the pleasant change in months to come.

Among regional countries, India’s retail price inflation rate climbed to 4.62 percent year-on-year in October 2019, the highest in over a year, from the previous month’s 3.99 percent and above market expectations of 4.25 percent. Inflation rose above the Reserve Bank of India’s medium-term target of 4 percent for the first time since July 2018. Inflation rate in India averaged 5.98 percent from 2012 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of 12.17 percent in November of 2013 and a record low of 1.54 percent in June of 2017.Bangladesh inflation rate eased to 5.47 percent in October of 2019 from 5.54 percent in the previous month. It was the lowest inflation since February, as non-food products cost slowed (5.45 percent vs 5.92 percent in September). In contrast, food prices advanced faster (5.49 percent vs 5.30 percent). The inflation rates for rural and urban areas were 5.36 percent and 5.67 percent, compared with September’s figures of 5.41 percent and 5.80 percent respectively.

On a monthly basis, consumer prices rose 0.51 percent, following a 1.85 percent in the previous month. Inflation rate in Bangladesh averaged 6.51 percent from 1994 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 16 percent in September of 2011 and a record low of -0.03 percent in December of 1996.

Inflation rate in Sri Lanka decreased to 4.4 percent in November of 2019, from 5.4 percent in the previous month. It was the lowest rate of inflation since August, as cost slowed for food & non-alcoholic beverages (4.6 percent vs 6.8 percent in October) and non-food products (4.2 percent vs 4.8 percent). Among non-food, prices advanced at a softer pace for housing & utilities (2.6 percent vs 2.9 percent); furniture & household equipment (5.4 percent vs 5.7 percent) and health (2.2 percent vs 12.7 percent). In contrast, transport cost increased faster (2.7 percent vs 1.2 percent) while inflation was steady for restaurants & hotels (at 2.9 percent). On a monthly basis, consumer prices went up 0.3 percent, after rising 0.2 percent in October.

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Inflation rate in Sri Lanka averaged 9.33 percent from 1986 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 28.30 percent in June of 2008 and a record low of -0.90 percent in March of 1995.

The inflation rate in Afghanistan was recorded at 1.80 percent in September of 2019. Inflation rate in Afghanistan averaged 3.75 percent from 2005 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of 13.97 percent in April of 2011 and a record low of -18.39 percent in May of 2009.

(This news/article originally appeared in The News on December 10th, 2019)

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