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September 25, 2023 2:14 pm

Pakistan: Food prices soar as CPI inflation record 38 % in May

Islamabad, June 2

Pakistan’s consumer price index (CPI)-based inflation rate soared to a record 38 percent on a year-over-year (YoY) basis in May 2023, the highest since July 1965 — except for a few years in between due to the lack of monthly data, Geo News reported.

According to figures from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), CPI-based inflation reached 36.4 percent in April 2023 while rising 1.6 per cent month-over-month (MoM) in May. Brokerage Arif Habib Limited noted in a report, “This reading takes 11MFY23 average inflation to 29.2 percent compared to 11.3 percent in 11MFY22,” as per Geo News, a Pakistani news outlet launched in October 2002.

While consumer prices in rural areas increased by 52.4 percent year over year, food inflation in urban areas shot up by a staggering 48.1 per cent in May 2023 compared to May 2022.

While noting that inflation reached record highs, Arif Habib Limited Economist Sana Tawfiq remarked that on a month-over-month (MoM) basis “inflation clocked higher, up 1.6 percent.”

The analyst told Geo News that increased food, household, and apparel expenses were the main causes of the MoM hike.

She continued by pointing out that core inflation is still rising and recently exceeded 23 percent YoY.

Tawfiq said, “We expect headline numbers to recede from June onwards with base-effect kicking in. However, domestic food and energy prices, as well as further currency devaluation, remain key risks to the overall inflation.”

The latest spike of 38 percent is higher than Sri Lanka’s, which in May reported annual inflation of 25.2 percent.

Inflation has been on the rise since the government implemented severe measures as part of the fiscal adjustments required by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to unlock frozen cash that has still not been delivered, Geo News reported.

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