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Pakistan suffers from highest inflation in five months

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ISLAMABAD: Inflation in Pakistan has hit its highest in nearly five months in November as increases in food and fuel costs pushed consumer prices up to 11.5 percent year-on-year, official data showed on Tuesday.

The consumer price index jumped three percent from October 2021, when it recorded 8.3 percent, the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) date showed. The November inflation is the fastest growth since May 2021. Economists said rising food costs were the main driver, followed by vehicle fuels and electricity charges. They said the recent acceleration in inflation was transitory, driven by supply chain disruptions and surging global commodity prices. “Imported inflation (high energy and commodity prices) are also instrumental in pushing prices up in the economy,” an economist said.

Inflation is considered as ‘unseen tax’ or penalty on cash holders which is dwindling purchasing power and has now turned into a politically-sensitive subject. The five-month (July-November) inflation was recorded at 9.3 percent compared to 8.8 percent in same period of last year.

The government has targeted to keep inflation under eight percent in the current fiscal year of 2021/22.

CPI is a basket of goods monitoring retail prices of 374 items in 35 major cities. Its two major components that have highest weightage including food and beverages have share of more than one-third (or 34.58 percent) and utility charges (housing, water, electricity and fuel) with around one-fourth (or 23.63pc share) sharply become dearer during November.

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