The cost of living index edges up in February as the outlook remains bleak

It wasn’t long ago that the household burden jumped to an all-time high – in December, the barometer of the cost of living breached the 90 mark for the first time since the unique index was launched in the third quarter of 2011.

Indeed, the signs on the ground continue to be bleak and it comes as no surprise that the PepperCube Cost of Living Index (CLI) nudged up from 88.3 in January to 89.4 points a month later.

Moreover, the CLI is 8.5 points higher than where it stood a year ago.

And the Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) shot up yet again, from 14.2 percent in January to 15.1 percent year on year in February, which means the CCPI has spiked every month since last September when it registered a somewhat palatable 5.7 percent.

Close to all poll participants (i.e. 97% vs. 94% in January) consulted by PepperCube in February say the cost of living of their families has escalated ‘highly’ or ‘moderately’ in the last 12 months.

As far as the cost of living in the next 12 months is concerned, slightly over 90% (92% to be precise) of those polled say they expect an escalation of their household expenditure, which is one percentage point higher than a month ago.

And what do people say about the prospect of hardships ahead – vis-à-vis their capacity to purchase non-food goods and services, by considering their cost of living, economic status and ability to save in the coming 12 months?

The survey outcome is no different to the prior month, meaning that three-quarters say they will ‘not have a chance at all’ or ‘not have a chance.’

FOOTNOTE An index based on a monthly survey, the CLI aims to measure and understand perceptions regarding the cost of living as opposed to reported or official inflation.