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Pakistan’s Year-on-Year Inflation Slows in February

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Data shows inflation reduced to 12.4 percent last month as compared to decade-high of 14.56 in January

Pakistan’s annual consumer price index (CPI) inflation reduced to 12.4 percent last month, a much-needed drop from its record high of last month, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

In its monthly report, the bureau noted that overall inflation—in both year-on-year and month-on-month basis—had reduced in February, as compared to the massive uptick it had witnessed in January. Listing the data, the monthly report notes that CPI (general) increased by 12.4 percent on year-on-year basis in February 2020 as compared to 14.6 percent in January and a mere 6.8 percent in February 2019. Similarly, CPI (urban) increased by 11.2 percent in February 2020 as compared to an increase of 13.4 percent in January and 7.2 percent in February 2019. The CPI (rural) increased by 14.2 percent last month as compared to 16.3 percent in January and 6 percent in February 2019.

January witnessed the highest CPI inflation in a decade, hitting 14.56 percent amid price hikes for most basic necessities, including wheat, sugar, rice and vegetables. By contrast, February saw a downward trend in prices of edibles, the bureau said, adding that electricity prices had also gone down 13.48 percent compared to January.

There has been growing discontent among Pakistanis about the price hikes brought about under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government, with Prime Minister Imran Khan facing severe criticism as the purchasing power of households shrinks with little economic progress to compensate for it. Both the International Monetary Fund and the State Bank of Pakistan have stated that the inflationary pressures would likely continue in the short-term, further raising questions about the government’s claims to have achieved “economic stability.”

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