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Pakistan posts highest-ever annual inflation; stampedes for food kill 16

Published 04/01/2023, 05:15 AM
Updated 04/01/2023, 04:17 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man checks the size of a jacket at a stall selling secondhand clothes, at the Landa Bazar in Karachi, Pakistan January 15, 2023. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

By Asif Shahzad

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Consumer price inflation in Pakistan jumped to a record 35.37% in March from a year earlier, the statistics bureau said on Saturday, as at least 16 people were killed in stampedes for food aid.

The March inflation number eclipsed February's 31.5%, the bureau said, as food, beverage and transport prices surged up to 50% year-on-year.

Thousands of people have gathered at flour distribution centres set up across the country, some as part of a government-backed programme to ease the impact of inflation.

At least 16 people, including five women and three children, have been killed in stampedes at such centres in recent days, police and officials have said. Thousands of bags of flour have also been looted from trucks and distribution points, according to official records.

A spokesman at the statistics bureau said the inflation number was the highest ever year-on-year increase recorded by the bureau since monthly records began in the 1970s.

"This is the highest ever inflation recorded in the data we have," he said.

The consumer price index was up 3.72% in March from the previous month, the bureau said.

Higher prices of food, cooking oil and electricity pushed up the index, it said.

Annual food inflation in March was at 47.1% and 50.2% for urban and rural areas respectively, the bureau said. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy, stood at 18.6% in urban areas and 23.1% in rural areas.

The South Asian nation has been in economic turmoil for months with an acute balance of payments crisis while talks with the IMF to secure $1.1 billion funding as part of $6.5 billion bailout agreed in 2019 have not yet yielded fruit.

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Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves have fallen to cover barely four weeks of imports.

A monthly economic outlook report issued by the finance ministry on Friday projected inflation would remain elevated.

The report cited market frictions caused by relative demand and supply gaps of essential items, exchange rate depreciation, and the recent upward adjustment in fuel prices as reasons behind higher inflation expectations.

Latest comments

In the US it’s called lobbying
Low interest rates make borrowing more attractive for businesses.
Interest rates remain relatively stable.
Pakistan is a failed state bcz our Judiciary, Army, Politicians Journalists all are coorupt & compromised. They all are scratching each others back.
Join the crowd buddy
This will happen in the USA too. Just watch. Nobody is safe from hyperinflation
really
Coming to a neighborhood near you
really sad to see. Corrupt politicians and clutch of the military have turned Pakistan into a failed state. Pakistani should rise up to overthrow their military regime and restore order, and not swayed by irrelevant Kashmir and India. International organizations should work together on denuclearizing Pakistan as Pakistan might fall to hands of terrorists soon.
Is food and energy included together with their inflation data? unlike here in US
Don't blame flood damages, it was just bcz of corrupt elite.
Pakistan has now become Pooristan.
All happening bcz of these corrupt politicians
30 billion dollar flood damage
Very Heart Touching Report This Is... All These inflation Are Just Because Of Out Corrupt Political Persons And Other Government Employees Related To Different Sectors..... But Hope For The Best Fot Our Better Future
30 billion dollars in flood damage. No helpFrom other countries
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