Pakistan’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached an all-time high of 35.37% YoY in March, according to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). This marks the highest CPI increase on record since July 1965. Consumer prices have risen sharply over the past several months, with annual inflation staying above 20% since June last year. Prices in urban and rural areas increased by 32.97% and 38.88% YoY, respectively. The finance ministry warned that inflation will continue to rise due to policy decisions made earlier to raise energy and fuel prices, central bank rates and the depreciation of the rupee to secure IMF funding. It also acknowledged that the authorities’ policy measures to contain the inflationary pressure had been ineffective. The Economic Adviser’s Wing suggested Ramazan-oriented demand pressures may cause a demand-supply gap, which could result in the escalation of essential item prices. The government is reportedly working with provincial governments to ensure a smooth supply of essential items.
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