The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) approved a 150 basis point increase in the benchmark interest rate, pushing it to 13.75 per cent to control inflation.
It is worth noting that this is the maximum level of interest rate since 2011 when it was 14 per cent.
The central bank mentioned in a statement that after the last MPC meeting, preliminary estimates indicate that growth in FY22 has been considerably higher than predicted.
On May 23, the MPC agreed to hike the policy rate by 150 basis points to 13.75 per cent. “This action, together with much needed fiscal consolidation, should help moderate demand to a more sustainable pace while keeping inflation expectations anchored and containing risks to external stability.
“External pressures remain elevated and the inflation outlook has deteriorated due to both home-grown and international factors. Domestically, an expansionary fiscal stance this year, exacerbated by the recent energy subsidy package, has fueled demand and lingering policy uncertainty has compounded pressures on the exchange rate”.
“Globally, inflation has intensified due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and renewed supply disruptions caused by the new Covid wave in China. As a result, almost all central banks across the world are suddenly confronting multi-year high inflation and a challenging outlook.”
The MPC stated that raising interest rates will help to protect external and economic stability.
“Since the last MPC meeting, secondary market yields, benchmark rates and cut-off rates in the government’s auctions have risen, particularly at the short end. The MPC noted that the market rates should be aligned with the policy rate and in case of any misalignment after today’s policy decision, the SBP would take appropriate action”.
According to the report, overall inflation climbed from 12.7 per cent (year on year) in March to 13.4 per cent in April, led by consumable food products and core inflation. “The rise in core inflation reflects strong domestic demand and second-round effects of supply shocks,” it noted.
The MPC believes that when power and fuel subsidies are phased out, inflation will spike momentarily and remain strong through FY23 before falling steeply in FY24. “This baseline outlook is subject to risks from the path of global commodity prices and the domestic fiscal policy stance,” it said.
Leave a Reply