Inflation reaches 21.32pc in June, highest in 14 years

ISLAMABAD: The country’s headline inflation accelerated to a record peak of 21.32 percent last month as compared to the corresponding month of 2021, the data released by Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday shows.

As per officials at PBS, the inflation rate is historic in Pakistan as compared to the past 14 years, as the highest inflation was recorded in June 2008 when it registered at 21.5 percent.

The two highest figures of over 21 percent inflation in the month of June were recorded in 2008 and 2022 as per the available data between 1991 and 2022, the officials claim. 

The government, which is trying to meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at any cost for availing the stalled bailout package, has pushed the price of fuel, electricity and gas to historic levels.

According to officials, a surge in global commodity prices, falling value of local currency and rising import bill has contributed to this high level of inflation. The government has raised domestic fuel prices by up to 92 percent in a month to meet the IMF’s requirements.

The current inflation rate reflects the adverse impact of increase in government-administered fuel and energy prices.

It may be mentioned here that the Ministry of Finance through the recently issued monthly Economic Outlook expected the inflation to remain within the range of 14.5 percent to 15.5 percent.

The increase in fuel prices every 15 days is expected to push inflation further up in the coming months.

Earlier in May, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), in its bid to tackle economic headwinds, raised the key interest by 150 basis points to 13.75 percent. The central bank back then said that as electricity and fuel subsidies are reversed, inflation is likely to rise temporarily and may remain elevated through FY23 before declining sharply during FY24.

The SBP is currently scheduled to hold its next Monetary Policy Committee meeting on July 7, 2022 to decide the key interest rate.

The PBS data shows the CPI has increased by 21.3 percent on a year-on-year basis in June 2022 as compared to an increase of 13.8 percent in the previous month and 9.7 percent as compared to June 2021. On a month-on-month basis, it increased by 6.3 percent in June 2022 as compared to an increase of 0.4 percent in the previous month.

Meanwhile, CPI inflation index in urban areas increased by 19.8 percent on a year-on-year basis in June 2022 as compared to an increase of 12.4 percent in the previous month and 9.6 percent in June 2021.

On a month-on-month basis, it increased by 6.2 percent in June 2022 as compared to an increase of 0.3 percent in the previous month and decrease of 0.4 percent in June 2021.

CPI inflation in rural areas increased by 23.6 percent on a year-on-year basis in June 2022 as compared to an increase of 15.9 percent in the previous month and 9.7 percent in June 2021. On a month-on-month basis, it increased by 6.6 percent in June 2022 as compared to an increase of 0.6 percent in the previous month and decrease of 0.1 percent in June 2021.

 

 

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Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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