Byline: Mubarak Zeb Khan
ISLAMABAD -- Prices of seasonal essential goods continued to rise as inflation clocked in at 11 per cent in October 2019 from a year ago, reported the PakAistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Wednesday.
Inflation, measured through the Consumer Price Index (CPI), edged up by 1.8pc over the previous month after the PBS revised its calculation methodology by setting the new base year 2015-16 instead of the previous 2007-08 financial year.
The change in base year means the economy's price levels in FY16 will now be the base against which all existing prices will be calculated for the CPI.
Based on the new base year, October inflation came in at 11.04pc, versus 11.4pc in the previous month.
Going by the old base year of FY08 that was being used until three months ago, the key inflation index comes in at 11.08pc for October, showing a 1pc increase over the month of September.
As per the new base year, the lowest CPI was recorded in July at 8.4pc.
The data shows the urban CPI covers 35 cities and 356 consumer items, while rural CPI tracks 27 rural centres and 244 items. The former grew by 10.9pc year-on-year in October whereas the latter jumped by 11.3pc.
The International Monetary Fund has estimated that Pakistan's inflation may escalate up to 13pc, but the government's estimate is around 11pc, which has already been crossed in the outgoing month.
The core inflation rate in urban areas was 7.8pc in October according to the new methodology as it dipped from 8.4pc. The core inflation rate in rural areas was 8.6pc in October while it was 8.8pc in the previous month. The central bank determines the key policy rate (which currently stands at 13.25pc) on the basis of the core inflation rate.
Further analysis shows that the food inflation in urban areas rose by 13.7pc in October on a yearly basis and 1.4pc month-wise. In rural areas, food inflation rose 14.6pc on a yearly and 2.6pc on a monthly basis.
Similarly, non-food inflation in urban centres was recorded at 9.4pc year-on-year while it was 8.7pc in rural areas.
In urban areas, the food items which saw their price levels go up included: tomatoes(34.97pc), eggs (19.74pc), fresh vegetables(17.69pc), potatoes(10.08pc), onions(4.98pc), beans(2.53pc), fish(2pc), dry fruits(1.86pc), milk powder (1.79pc), besan(1.28pc), wheat(1.22pc), meat(1.17pc), pulse masoor(1.04pc), and Gur(1pc).
The items that declined in urban were sugar(1.37pc), chicken (18.17pc) and fresh fruits(1.39pc).