Inflation in Pakistan continues to surge as the Sensitive Price Indicator (SPI) recorded a significant increase, jumping to 42.67 per cent on a year-on-year basis for the week ending on June 1, according to official data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The weekly inflation showed a marginal increase of 0.03 per cent compared to the previous week.
The short-term inflation, measured by the SPI, reached an all-time high of 48.35 per cent for the period ending on May 4, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the economy. The Combined Index, a comprehensive measure of inflation, stood at 254.13 compared to 254.05 on May 25, 2023, and marked a significant increase from 178.12 recorded on June 2, 2022.
The PBS report revealed that out of the 51 monitored items, the average prices of 19 items increased, 14 items witnessed a decrease, while 18 items remained unchanged during the week under review. This data indicates the volatile nature of prices in the current market.
Analyzing the SPI change across different income groups, the weekly percentage change showed a mixed trend, ranging between -0.1 per cent and 0.12 per cent. However, on a yearly basis, the SPI increased across all quantiles, ranging between 40.2 per cent and 43.49 per cent, suggesting the broad impact of inflation across various income segments.
Additionally, the statistics bureau reported that Pakistan’s annual inflation rose to 37.97 per cent year-on-year in May, further confirming the country’s highest-ever inflationary period. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) recorded 36.4 per cent in April, which at the time was already the highest level according to the bureau’s historical records.
Furthermore, the month-on-month rise in May was reported to be 1.58 per cent, with the bureau highlighting significant increases in the prices of vegetables, pulses, and chicken. These factors contribute to the overall rise in the cost of living and put additional strain on households and businesses alike.
The continuous surge in inflation poses significant challenges to the economy, affecting consumers’ purchasing power and increasing the cost of doing business. The government and relevant authorities are urged to take immediate measures to stabilize prices, address supply chain issues, and implement effective policies to alleviate the impact of rising inflation on the population.
As the situation unfolds, policymakers and economists will closely monitor the inflationary trends, devising strategies to bring stability and mitigate the adverse effects on the economy and the welfare of the people.