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Annual inflation rate rises to 34.83%

ISLAMABAD: The trend of growing costs for necessary commodities continued in the previous week, as the rate of inflation increased by 0.17%, bringing the annual increase to 34.83%.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) weekly numbers, 29 vital items were more expensive in the country during the week ending February 9, 2023, five became cheaper, and 17 remained stable.

Potatoes, jaggery (Gur), garlic, vegetable ghee, mash lentil, split chickpeas, masoor lentil, open milk, yogurt, bread, mustard oil, firewood, matches, salt, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and rice were among the 29 commodities that saw price increases. Onions, tomatoes, sugar, eggs, and flour were among the five goods whose prices fell over the week.

Potatoes increased by 7.15%, chicken meat increased by 6.94%, basmati tota (broken) rice increased by 3.80%, LPG increased by 3.06, vegetable ghee increased by 2.71%, cooking oil increased by 2.60%, maash lentil increased by 2.42%, cigarettes increased by 2.25%, and garlic and moong lentil both increased by 2.20%.

Sensitive Price Index

Onion prices fell by 9.83%, tomatoes by 5.40%, eggs by 3.40%, flour by 2.71%, and sugar by 0.31%. In terms of the Sensitive Price Index, the country’s inflation rate was 34.83% for the week compared to the same period last year (SPI).

According to the statistics for the previous week, the annual inflation rate for the group earning up to Rs17,732 per month was 31.56%. In the income range of Rs17,733 to Rs22,888 per month, the inflation rate was 32.55%.

Similarly, the inflation rate for that earning between Rs22,889 and Rs29,517 per month was 34.86%. The inflation rate for people earning between Rs29,518 and Rs44,175 per month was 36.36%.

Record High inflation rate

For those with a monthly income of more than Rs44,176, the rate of inflation has been 35.83%. According to PBS data, inflation in crisis-hit Pakistan has reached a 48-year high.

In January 2023, year-on-year inflation was 27.55%, the highest since May 1975.

The country’s economy is in shambles, suffering from a balance-of-payments crisis while attempting to repay massive amounts of external debt. Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) failed to obtain a staff-level agreement in time to restart the stalled $6.5 billion bailout package on Thursday.

However, both parties agreed on a series of steps that could yet assist seal the deal and avoid a default.

The Pakistani authorities had hoped to persuade the IMF of their good intentions toward the progressive implementation of all outstanding stipulations.

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