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Increased Gas Prices Contributing to Inflation

ISLAMABAD: The Natio¬nal Price Monitoring Committee (NPMC) on Wednesday called rising inflation a challenge while observing that the recent increase in gas prices contributed significantly towards it.

The meeting – chaired by Special Secretary Finance Noor Ahmed – also cited the rise of crude oil prices in international markets and strong domestic demand as other reasons behind increasing inflation.

Mr Ahmed informed the committee that fluctuations in world economies have created uncertainties in emerging markets and as a result currencies have devalued significantly. The committee was infor¬med that the US Federal Reserve was raising interest rate while oil price was estimated to hit $90 per barrel mark.

“Rising inflation is a challenge,” said Mr Ahmed. He directed that the provincial governments need to adhere to strict price monitoring and remain vigilant so that no supply disruption of commodities in the markets takes place. The committee observed that core inflation increased by 8.0 per cent in September 2018 as compared to 5.4pc in the same period last year. The trend is alarming and signals rising inflation in coming months. The committee observed a rising SPI trend over the last six weeks. The weekly SPI — which monitors the price movement of 53 essential items — recorded an increase of 3.65pc on October 11, 2018. However significant impact came from increase in gas prices by 15.45pc over previous week.

It was highlighted that prices were significantly lower in sasta bazaars as compared to open markets.

The meeting was informed that CPI increased by 5.6pc during Jul-September in current fiscal year compared to 3.4pc of the same period last year.

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