ISLAMABAD - Monthly inflation, measured by the consumer price index (CPI), has once again remained at lower side of 4.3 percent in December 2014 mainly due to the tumbling petroleum products prices on the country.

In December 2014, CPI inflation was recorded at 4.3 percent as compared to the corresponding month of previous year, a monthly CPI bulletin of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) showed on Thursday.

Inflation rate is on the declining side from last few months due to the dwindling oil prices in the country, which registered massive decline. CPI had touched the 11-years lowest sides of 3.95 percent in November 2014. It remained at 5.8 percent in October 2014. Inflation rate might remain in control in next couple of months due to the reduction in petroleum products prices.

“Sharp declines in food and energy prices are expected to continue easing inflation pressures, which has helped headline inflation to decline to 4 percent y-o-y in November, while core inflation has remained relatively high at 7.4 percent”, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in latest Pakistan’s review noted. The Fund has revised the headline inflation forecast for FY2014/15 downward by 1 percent (7 percent).

Meanwhile, Pakistan assured the IMF that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) would use monetary policy tools as needed to bring inflation sustainability below 7 1/2 percent by the end of FY2014/15. “Headline and core inflation have been on a declining path in the past few months. However, we believe that preserving this momentum requires a continued prudent monetary policy stance to anchor inflation expectations”, said government of Pakistan in written assurance to the IMF.

According to the PBS figures, six-months (July-December 2014-15) average inflation stood at 6.08 percent as compared to 8.89 percent in the same period of the last fiscal year.

In December 2014, food and non-alcoholic beverages prices were up by 2.53 percent and utilities (housing, water, electricity, gas and fuel) by 5.84 percent.

 Interestingly, health and education charges became dearer by 5.68 percent and 14.3 percent, respectively.

Prices of alcoholic beverages and tobacco stood at 20.67 percent, clothing and footwear 8.81 percent and furnishings and household equipment maintenance 6.62 percent.

Charges related to recreation and culture went up 3.53 percent and restaurants and hotel 7.2 percent in December 2014 over the same month in 2013. However, transportation charges were down by 6.02 percent.

Meanwhile, the PBS data showed that price of tomatoes increased by 12.47 percent in the month of December 2014 against November, price of chicken enhanced by 11.76 percent and price of pulse moong went up by 3.82 percent. Prices of fish surged by 2.16 percent and dry fruits 1.07 percent. Similarly, in non-food commodities, prices of Woolen Readymade Garments increased by 2.25 percent and Postal Services enhanced by 2.14 percent.

Meanwhile, prices of following commodities decreased potatoes 38.59 percent, onions 27.71 percent, fresh vegetables 14.64 percent, fresh fruits 5.99 percent and sugar 4.51, rice 3.11 percent, eggs 2.18 percent, wheat 1.84 percent and vegetable ghee 1.11 percent during the period under review. Similarly, in non-food commodities, price of Motor Fuel 6.63 percent, and Kerosene Oil 6.53 percent during December over November.

Meanwhile, the sensitive price indicator (SPI), which gauges weekly inflation in kitchen items, has increased by 3.47 percent in July-December 2014 as against the same month of last year. Similarly, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation increased by 2.13 percent in the period under review.