In November, Pakistan’s headline inflation surged to 29.2 per cent year-on-year, as reported by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, surpassing the October figure of 26.9 per cent. 

On a monthly basis, there was a 2.7 per cent increase. The average inflation for July-November reached 28.62 per cent, up from 25.14 per cent in the same period the previous year.

CPI inflation in urban areas rose to 30.44 per cent in November 2023, compared to 25.5 per cent in the previous month and 21.6 per cent in November 2022. On a monthly basis, it increased to 4.34 per cent, reflecting a substantial jump from the previous month and November 2022.

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Conversely, rural CPI inflation stood at 27.53 per cent year-on-year in November 2023, showing a slight decrease from the previous month but an increase from November 2022.

Anticipated by several brokerage houses, the November inflation spike, driven partly by a rise in gas tariffs, aligns with predictions. 

JS Global and Arif Habib Limited had forecasted CPI-based inflation to be around 28.26 per cent and 28.2 per cent, respectively.

Beyond inflation, Pakistan faces economic challenges. A recent staff-level agreement with the IMF, subject to board approval in December, will provide access to SDR 528 million. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects inflation to decrease in the coming months due to improved supply conditions.

Despite maintaining a key policy rate of 22 per cent, the State Bank of Pakistan projects a downward trajectory for inflation, citing fiscal consolidation, commodity availability, and exchange rate alignment as offsetting factors against risks like global oil price volatility and increased gas tariffs.

Caretaker Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar expressed optimism about gradual inflation reduction, attributing it to improved financial management. The government believes effective policies will contribute to an overall improvement in economic conditions.