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ISLAMABAD: The headline inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has been recorded at 8.6 percent during July-April fiscal year 2021 against 11.2 percent in the same period last year, revealed the Economic Survey 2020-21.

The survey noted that inflation in perishable food items increased by 0.1 percent during July-April 2020-21 against increase of 34.7 percent during the same period last year.

Non-perishable food items are the main contributory factor in jacking up food inflation in the food and non-alcoholic beverages group, and recorded an increase of 16 percent during July-April 2020-21 against the increase of 12.4 percent during the same period of last year.

Among non perishable food items, the upward pressure came from poultry group (chicken and eggs), followed by staple group (wheat, wheat flour and edible oil).

The Survey noted that the increase in poultry group may be attributed to viral disease which caused supply side risks. Wheat prices rose by more than 24 percent in April 2021 over April 2020 due to supply disruption. However, there was a decrease of 9 percent in wheat prices over March 2021 mainly due to the government efforts for smooth supply of wheat.

Prices of edible oil, palm oil and soybean prices have been on a steep rising trajectory in international market since June 2020, amid sharp contractions in global inventory levels due to weather-related concerns in the major producing areas.

The housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuel recorded an increase of 5.7 percent during July-April fiscal year 2021 as against 7.1 percent during the same period of last year. It has a weight of 23.6 percent thus any untoward movement directly affects the more vulnerable segments of society.

The Survey noted that at the start of fiscal year 2021, major contribution to inflation in both urban and rural baskets derived from food group mainly due to extended monsoon season. The rise in the prices of global agrarian products and other commodities especially oil contributed to domestic inflation. The government does not pass on proportional increase of crude oil prices in international market to the general public in order to maintain price stability, the Survey noted.

During first ten months of fiscal year 2021, National CPI inflation for fiscal year 2021 remained lower than last year.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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