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Inflation Hits Record High of 36.4% in April

Data from PBS attributes annual hike to inflationary pressures from food, energy sectors

by Staff Report

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Inflation in Pakistan hit a record-high 36.4 percent in April 2023 compared to a year earlier, with data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) attributing this largely to soaring food prices and energy costs.

In its report, the PBS said the consumer price index (CPI) had hit 36.4 percent year-on-year in April compared to 35.4 percent last month and 13.4 percent a year earlier. It said the monthly increase in inflation had been recorded at 2.4 percent. Reportedly, this is the highest inflation ever recorded in Pakistan. Core inflation, which does not include food and energy, stood at 19.5 percent in urban areas and 24.9 percent in rural areas.

The PBS report stated that inflation in urban and rural areas climbed to 33.5 percent and 40.7 percent year-on-year, respectively. It said food inflation continued to remain high—most troubling for citizens—with prices of non-perishable food items jumping by 51.5 percent while perishable food items climbed by 29.23 percent compared to a year earlier.

The biggest hike, per the PBS, was recorded in the alcoholic beverages and tobacco slab, which showed an increase of 133.53 percent. Earlier this year, the government imposed new taxes on cigarettes as part of measures to generate revenue amidst an ongoing economic crunch.

The PBS report also recorded transport rates climbing by 56.77 percent; housing and utilities 16.94 percent; clothing and footwear 21.62 percent; furnishing and household equipment maintenance 40.53 percent; restaurants and hotels 39.03 percent; recreation and culture 68.6 percent; health 18.77 percent; education 8.5 percent; and communication 6.75 percent.

In a report, Bloomberg said that Pakistan now has the highest rate of inflation in all of Asia, outpacing defaulted Sri Lanka, which recorded inflation at 35.3 percent in March. The government has attempted to counter inflation through increases to the interest rate, but none of its steps have been able to counter spiraling prices. A key reason for the current price hike is the sharp devaluation of the Pakistani rupee, which has raised fuel and food costs and also triggered a “grey economy” that has further reduced tax income.

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