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Bus fares, house rent and food cost more now as inflation jumps to 7.2%


Photo: AFP

Rent, bus fares and food all costs more now as inflation in Pakistan is at a four-and-a-half-year high. The annual inflation rate surged to 7.2% in January.

It was 6.2% in December, according to data released on Friday by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics. When inflation rises, the price of goods and services also rises. So things you use at home every day, like sugar, daal, fruits and vegetables, are all more expensive now.

But it isn’t just food items that have become more expensive. In January, electricity tariffs rose by 8.5% and medicines cost 15% more. There was a 2.38% rise in rent and a 50% increase in bus fare.

Food items like tomatoes became 28% more expensive, while sugar prices rose by 6%. Fruit is 3% more expensive, while daal and dry fruit (a wintertime favourite) are 2.2% more expensive. Tea leaves are also 17% more expensive.

Related: There will be fewer jobs but analysts think the State Bank won’t raise interest rates just yet

But the highest price increase is that of gas, which is 85% more expensive now. This is compared to the price of gas in January 2017. Health services in general are 8.4% more expensive and cigarettes are 20% more expensive

Diesel costs 19% more while the cost of household LPG cylinders has risen by 15%.

Cosmetics, water and construction material all became 13% more expensive and cars will cost you 14% more now.

When the PML-N government handed over control to the caretaker government in May 2018, inflation was at 4%. When the caretaker government handed over control to the PTI in August 2018, it was at 5.8%. But now, in January, inflation was recorded at 7.2%.

This is the highest rate of inflation since August 2014, when the rate was 7%.

Related: GDP growth target unachievable as policy shifts towards stabilisation, says the State Bank of Pakistan

The State Bank of Pakistan warned in a report released on December 2, 2018 that inflation could go up from 6.5% to 7.5% in 2019.

On December 4, the bureau of statistics released data on inflation, according to which inflation had reached 6.5% in the country.

This higher than expected increase in inflation has come after the State Bank devalued the rupee five times since December 2016. The rupee has weakened 26% against the dollar during this time.

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